By Emmanuel Adeleke
The Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na-Allah, has said the institution has gone tough on lecturers sexually harassing students.
Na’Allah while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York, on Monday, revealed that that two professors had been dismissed for the offence, adding that the university had introduced a policy on sex abuse on campus, which had been published.
Na-Allah, who was on a two–day visit to the University of Abuja Alumni Association, USA chapter, to seek support for the institution, said, ”female students needed to be protected.”
He said the institution is committed to high moral standards and will not tolerate any act of misconduct perpetrated by its staff against students.
“I have dismissed two professors since I became the vice chancellor. It tells you how we are serious about the issue of sexual harassment.
“We are collaborating with some Non-Governmental Organisations, to make sure that it is not only us that are addressing this issue, but we have a strong partnership.
“We cannot allow the lives of our students to be destroyed because most of the abuses destroy the lives of their victims.
“It was sad to see some lecturers, who are supposed to be protecting the female students, becoming one of their problems.
“This a problem of universities in Nigeria, not only University of Abuja alone.
“But UniAbuja is pursuing it with vigour, because, we know this is one of the issues to address to make our university one of the best in Nigeria.
“As I speak now, there are several investigations ongoing by a committee set up, addressing the problem,” he said.
The VC stressed that the university is working round the clock to ensure that the institution become number one in Nigeria, adding that ”the best way is to improve on academics of the student.”
“We are trying to provide all the facilities that the students need. For instance, the smart classrooms, internet facilities on campus and other areas,’’ he said.
Na-Allah further explained that the varsity’s Centre for Distance Learning (CDL) is among the best in Nigeria, stressing that Nigerians in the diaspora could take programmes anywhere in the world from the centre virtually.
“People from everywhere in the world are students from first degree up to PhD level at the CDL. Things are easier now; you can even do your defence on zoom.
“We have created a virtual classroom system and we are working with the National Universities Commission (NUC), to see that its policies are reversed in such a way to support the virtual system.
“We are collaborating with the University of Arizona, because it has a large virtual system and we are exploring relationship for online programmes with the university,’’ the VC added.