There is a push back for what looked like a masterstroke for the Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello new initiative, LASU bread. The University recently joined the frenzy bread market with LASU Bread and the ivory tower has been criticized for breaching the competition law.
After the launch LASU in its official Twitter handle @LASUOfficial wrote “Accolades for the VC, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, mni, as LASU Bakery opens for business. The bakery is part of her administration’s drive to increase IGR. The LASU Bread will henceforth be the only bread on the university main campus, Ojo.”
The twitter featured the VC posing with three loafs of LASU bread with a smile but the accolade suddenly turned into criticism as the chief Executive officer of Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Babatunde Irukera came down hard on the school for alleged stifling of competition.
In an apparent disagreement with LASU, Irukera twitted, “I am afraid this presents a potential violation of competition law. Under the FCCPA, it’s an offense to limit competition in this manner, LASU is not exempted because govts are also subject when they engage in commerce. I assume this statement doesn’t convey what it says.”
The law permits any institution- private or public to engage in a commercial venture after all a federal government agency, NNPC is the sole importer of refined petroleum product into the country and LASU may have borrowed a leaf from this practice.
However, Nigerians have started criticizing LASU for the decision to make LASU bread the only sole bread in the campus which apparently goes against the competition law of FCCA.
According Olalekan Adebayo, an advertising practitioner in Lagos, LASU has no right to bare any brand from it premises as long as it is legal and legitimate product. “What LASU has done is like saying no Ojo indigene would attend another university but LASU. If you wish to join commercial venture you must be ready to compete with other legitimate businesses.”
A student, who pleaded anonymity said that the school management has erred because you cannot force a product on consumer because ‘decreeing’ that only LASU bread is allowed in the school premises tantamount to forcing consumer to only one choice.”
The mixed reactions according to the inside sources who confided in The Industry said that the university management maybe considering the decision to bare other competition especially with opposition provided FCCPC.
Another reliable source said, FCCPC is ready to battle LASU through legal means for apparent breach of its laws if the school refused to reverse itself and allow competition to thrive.