The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, FPSN has charged the Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria Universities to publish names of lecturers found wanting over allegations of sexual harassment of their students.
Prof. Rasheed gave the charge at the Redeemer’s University in Ede, Osun State, in a key note address, he presented at the 33rd annual conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria Universities (AVCNU) recently with the conference theme: “Revitalization of University Education in Nigeria.”
The Executive Secretary said since he took over the leadership of the NUC two years ago, he and his team had been working on reforms to improve the university education in the country, adding that the reforms were designed to refocus the commission in addressing and stemming the rate of corruption within the university system.
Prof. Rasheed said that one major challenge at the moment had been allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers against their students. “Our major crisis now is sexual harassment. Whether we like it or not, I want to charge the AVCNU at this meeting to make it a priority in the communiqué, to take a decisive action on this challenge.”
He said, the universities should be willing to punish and stamp out the incidences of sexual harassment, because the act has a damaging effect on our collective reputation. He strongly advised, the perpetrators must be brought to book and “whenever you punish or sanction somebody in this regard, let your effort be duly publicized.”
According to him, “Let the world know that somebody has lost his or her job because of sexual harassment or somebody has been demoted from being a Professor to Lecturer because of sexually harassing a student. We, in the NUC, will be helping you.
Prof. Rasheed emphasized that universities must be assisted to get rid of the bad element in the system and exposed them to the world to serve as detriment to those who might be nursing such detestable behaviour.
He suggested that the Vice-Chancellors should be collating the names of the offenders monthly and advertising in all the newspapers to expose them as culprits of sexual harassment, saying the effort will yield the desired result of sanitizing the system.
The NUC scribe stated that the lecturers who were told not to take advantage of innocent girls and boys in the universities decided to do so because they have the power to award marks, then they should equally be fought.
In his address, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, the Vice-Chancellor of Redeemer’s University and chairman of AVCNU said the conference was to proffer solution to societal needs, adding that the leadership of the university system should embrace a courageous vision of quality higher education in the service of humanity.
He concluded that this could be achieved through innovation as well as strengthening of local and international collaborations in research and teaching.