The Management of University of Lagos (UNILAG) has confirmed the indefinite suspension of Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Faculty of Arts who was caught on camera sexually harassing a teenage admission seeker.
The lecturer was exposed in a video by BBC Africa Eye where an undercover journalist, Kiki Mordi, disguised as a 17-year-old admission seeker.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, Mrs. Taiwo Oloyede, UNILAG Principal Assistant Registrar (Communication Unit), said Dr. Igbeneghu has also been barred from the university academic areas while the suspension subsists unless invited by a panel constituted by the institution to investigate the matter.
Mrs Oloyede also disclosed the university management has ordered the shutdown of the Staff Club “Cold Room” mentioned in the documentary for further investigation.
“The so-called “Cold Room” is a Functions Room that may have been abused because this is a deviation from the purpose for which it was created (meetings, seminars, events, etc.)” she said.
The university assured that any other lecturer mentioned in the full version of the report will also be suspended to ensure a proper investigation is carried out.
The statement said UNILAG “is embarrassed and dissociates itself totally from this act(s) and any inappropriate behaviour of staff with female students and vice versa,” adding that “the University has a well-articulated ‘Policy on Sexual Harassment, Sexual and Romantic Relationships'” which was distributed to all members of staff and can also be obtained on the University website.
It added: “Various Committees over time have been set up to investigate reports received and those found guilty/culpable were sanctioned. To ensure our students are aware of the various opportunities for reporting any form of sexual harassment or misconduct towards them, the University organises an orientation programme for all new entrants sensitising them of the University’s zero-tolerance policy and acquainting them with the mechanisms for reporting.
“The University Counselling Centre, Medical Centre and Division of Students’ Affairs amongst other organs have been well positioned to address complaints by students. These organs have cut off the bureaucracy limiting the effectiveness of the Policy, by the direct reporting system of these Centres to the Vice-Chancellor. The University encourages students who have evidence to come forward. They are assured of their anonymity and safety.
“As a reputable Institution and one of the foremost Universities in Nigeria and sub-Sahara Africa, we are highly embarrassed by these allegations and we will do all that is necessary to ensure that this menace is checked in our institution.
“The University of Lagos is committed to providing conducive and safe learning environment where future leaders are trained to take responsibilities for their action.”