The Academic Staff Union of Universities has called for thorough investigation and appropriate sanction for lecturers indicted in the alleged “Sex for Grades” scandal in order to sanitise the university system.
ASUU University of Lagos, Branch Chairman, Dr Dele Ashiru, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos that the union was against all forms of unethical practices, including sexual harassment.
Ashiru was reacting to a viral British Broadcasting Corporation investigative video which showed some lecturers of Universities of Lagos and Ghana sexually harassing female students.
“As a union, we are against all unethical practices among colleagues, including sexual harassment and even abuse.
“The development is very disturbing and unfortunate. We have appealed to colleagues to understand that as lecturers, we stand in ‘loco parentis’ (in the place of a parent) to these students and must not be perceived in any way of not being protective.
“We condemn this act of shame in its entirety and want the matter to be thoroughly investigated and appropriate sanction carried out on all those found culpable,” the ASUU Chairman told NAN.
On his part, Chimdi Maduagwu, Professor of English, also in UNILAG, said there was need for a social re-orientation of the lecturers and others.
According to him, it is about social scrutiny, urging for enforcement of self-discipline, especially among the academic staff.
“There must be a way to look into and touch these things and water them down.
“Some of us tend to be wielding so much powers in the positions we find ourselves that we loose control even when there is absolutely need to draw the lines.
“An average lecturer could be so powerful that he sees himself as having all the powers to fail or award grades at his whims and caprices.
“I believe that quality assurance can take adequate charge of some of these ugly trends,” he said.
Meanwhile the university of Lagos had since issued a statement, suspending one of the lecturers indicted in the saga.
The UNILAG Spokesperson, Taiwo Oloyede, said in the statement: The University of Lagos management has suspended Dr Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Faculty of Arts.
“He was caught in a sting operation by the BBC titled: ‘Sex for Grades’. The trending video chronicled cases of sexual harassment of female students by some lecturers in some West African universities, including of Lagos.
“Management at its emergency meeting of October 7, suspended Dr Igbeneghu from work immediately and barred him from the university academic areas while the suspension subsists unless invited by panel constituted by the institution to investigate the matter.
“In addition the management has ordered the shutdown if the Staff Club ‘Cold Room’ mentioned in the documentary for further investigations. 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 and events,” the statement read.
It stated that the university was embarrassed by the development and therefore dissociates itself totally from the acts and any other inappropriate behaviour of staff with female students and vice versa.
“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 and flushed from our institution.
“We have zero tolerance for such unwholesome behaviour and we will continue to work hard to protect the interests of all our students,” it stated.