An Osun State High Court has granted bail to a former Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Anthony Elujoba, and the bursar of the university, Mrs. Aderonke Akeredolu, who are standing trial for alleged stealing.
Justice David Oladimeji granted bail to the two accused persons in the ruling he delivered in Osogbo on Friday.
Elujoba was granted bail on self-recognisance while the bursar was granted bail in the sum of N50m and two sureties, who the judge said should be senior academics or unacademic members of staff of the university.
There was wild jubilation on the court premises immediately the judge granted the bail as workers and students of the school started chanting ‘Elujoba’.
Elujoba and Akeredolu are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on seven counts of stealing and conspiracy, among other charges.
Before granting the bail, to the duo, Justice Oladimeji berated some workers and students of the OAU for what he described as contemptuous and unruly behaviour on the court premises on Tuesday, when he was forced to give two different orders on the same issue on the same day.
He said “Workers numbering about 400 invaded the court premises, following the hearing of the remand order, but they were ignorant, which led to what I describe as barbaric (coming from) academics who should be the cynosure of good culture and be well-mannered in their behavior.
“The actions of the workers of the institution ought to be charged as contempt and the demand they pressed should be a reason why bail should not be granted to the accused persons because bail is granted at the discretion of the court and it can’t be prayed for with violence as the power of life and death is in the hands of judge.”
The judge, who had been sitting in Ede, shifted his sitting from the High Court in Ede to Osogbo on Friday and security was tightened on the premises of the court ahead of the ruling.
The accused persons were arraigned on Friday, July 7, and counsel for the defendants, Ibrahim Lawal, had on the same day filed a formal bail application for the release of his clients. The judge ordered that Elujoba be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned the matter until Tuesday, July 11.
Counsel for the EFCC on Tuesday filed a counter affidavit to oppose the application and Justice Oladimeji, who said he could not ignore the documents presented by the EFCC, adjourned until July and ordered that the accused persons be remanded at Ilesa Prison.
On hearing this order, some workers and students went wild and staged a violent protest, which lasted about five hours.
Workers of the university, including professors, also vowed to prevent security agents from taking Elujoba to the prison. The workers attacked some journalists and beat up one Pastor Odun Orioke, who they described as a spy for the immediate past substantive vice-chancellor of the school, Prof. Bamitale Omole.
The judge eventually reversed himself and ordered that the former acting VC be taken back to the EFCC custody from where he was brought to court on Tuesday.
Elujoba acted as vice-chancellor for less than one year and paid worker’s allowances of over N1bn, among other actions he took to restore peace to the university, which was in chaos at the time he took charge.