President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said henceforth, any lecturer in the nation’s tertiary institutions indicted for sex-for-marks and other sexual-related offences would face the “stiffest punishment under the law.”
The President in his speech at the 35th convocation of the University of Ilorin condemned the trending reports of sex-for-mark cases in the country’s university system.
He spoke just as the management of the University of Ilorin said it was already investigating allegations of such sexual scandal against some of its lecturers.
President Buhari, who was represented on the occasion by the Deputy Executive Director of the National Universities Commission, Dr Sulyman Yusuf, said sexual immoralities had been painting the nation’s university system in a bad light.
Buhari said, “Let me once again condemn the unwelcome attention being attracted to our universities by the trending stories of sex-for-grades. Definitely, our universities can do without the negative and scandalous attention being paid to them and our dear nation in the wake of trending stories of sex-for-marks and sexual harassment which have assumed a global dimension.
“It is most reprehensible that while some of our more illustrious university staff are making concerted efforts to improve the continent and global ranking of Nigerian universities and indeed, some of our universities are already beginning to make more respectable showing on the continent and global league and ranking tables, such efforts are now being overshadowed by the negative reputation of immorality and shame being brought upon our citadels of higher learning by the irresponsibility and indiscipline of a few misguided academics.
“For the avoidance of doubt, my administration abhors any form of indiscipline and misdemeanor. Accordingly, I have directed appropriate government agencies to take decisive and firm action against any lecturer or other members of staff found culpable in any act of sexual harassment in our educational and other institutions.
“It is most disheartening that people who are expected to train, guide and groom students in loco parentis turn round to breach the trust and confidence reposed in them by exploiting the students entrusted into their care.
“Henceforth, all culprits shall face the full wrath of the law as they will be prosecuted and those found guilty will serve the stiffest punishment under the law.”
The President charged the nation’s universities to rise to the challenge of creativity, innovativeness and optimal utilization of scarce resources.
This, he said, underscored the urgent need “to think outside the box to be able to device means and strategies of doing more with less.”
He said the economic challenges confronting the nation should be seen as an opportunity for retrospection and a stimulus “to elicit our collective creative juices, to innovate and attempt to do things differently.”
In his address, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Dr Abdullah Oyekan, said the institution management was taking action on the allegations of sex-for-grades against some lecturers.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, had said 12, 009 graduates were conferred with degree, higher degrees, and diploma certificates.
He added that 130 of the 10, 299 conferred with first degree bagged first class, 2,902 bagged second class upper division. 5,661 graduated with second class lower division, 1, 392 earned third class while 31 were awarded pass degree.(Punch)