The Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na-Allah, says the institution has gone tough on lecturers sexually harassing students, as two professors had been dismissed for the offence.
Na’Allah, who disclosed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in New York, said the university had introduced a policy on sex abuse on campus, which had been published; adding that “female students needed to be protected”.
According to him, 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 (NGOs), 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.’’
The vice-chancellor said: ”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.”
The VC said that the university was working round the clock to make sure 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.’’
Na-Allah further said that the Centre for Distance Learning (CDL), in the university was among the best in Nigeria, adding that Nigerians in 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 defense on zoom.
“We have created a virtual classroom system and we are working with the National University Commission (NUC), to see that its policies are reversed in such a way to support virtual system.
“We are collaborating with the University of Arizona, U.S, because it has a large virtual system and we are exploring relationship for online programmes with the university”, he said.
Na-Allah is on a two–day visit to the U.S., to meet with the University of Abuja Alumni Association, USA chapter, to solicit support for the institution.