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Sexual harassment: UNIABUJA probes 10 cases

By Godfrey AKON

With about 4 days to the end of 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, the University of Abuja, weekend, disclosed that it was investigating over 10 cases of sexual harassment which have been transferred to its disciplinary committee.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of UNIABUJA, Modibbo Mohammed, said this on Saturday during a retreat organized for the university’s principal officers, dean’s, directors and trade unions with the theme: “Navigating myriad of challenges in managing Universities in today’s world.”

Mohammed said that those found culpable would henceforth be sanctioned accordingly.

“Once somebody breaches the rules and regulations, they must be sanctioned no matter how highly placed. Whether it is sexual harassment, examination malpractices or extortion from students in one way or the other.

“We have so many cases now being investigated and we have referred over 10 cases of staff indiscipline, including professors to the University disciplinary committee.

“There are procedures that have to, first of all, be established, investigated, reported to the council and the council passed to the disciplinary committee.

“I can assure you that in the next couple of months, you will begin to see changes in the way we approach things in the university,” he said.

Declaring the retreat open, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, charged universities to be proactive to address their challenges, particularly in the area of sustainable funding.

He challenged participants at the event not to always depend on the government budget to run the universities but look inwards for alternative funding to keep the university going.

He said, “On University sustainable funding, I am of a very strong view that as long as we depend on the government budget to run our university, our expectations from the budget will continue to remain a problem.

“I would prefer we go to the old tradition of bottom-up based approach on the actual need of the and that funding will be such that is determined by cost.

“You go to the system where you determine what it takes a year for a student in a particular course of study and what it takes to produce a student over the course and every stakeholder should partake in it.

He continued, “We should adopt a grant system that will enable the university to practice what it preaches about autonomy and it will enable the governing council to operate on the strength of their balance sheet, that way you can eliminate some very unproductive programmes from the university.

“You don’t need to have every university in this country offering courses in a certain course area where you now have more lecturers than students across our university and at the end of the day add up to the wage bill.”

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