The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has spoken on the recent sex-for-mark scandal involving lecturers in some Nigerian universities.
The President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, a professor, spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Since April, three Nigerian universities have been in the spotlight, after their lecturers got involved in sexual harassment scandals.
These scandals followed actions of female students who opened up on abusive conducts of lecturers towards them in the three universities namely Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; University of Lagos, Akoka and Lagos State University, Ojo.
While OAU, the first hit, dismissed the lecturer involved in the scandal, the other two, LASU and UNILAG are still proceeding with investigations.
On Tuesday, Mr. Ogunyemi told PREMIUM TIMES that sexual harassment involving lecturers is not as rampant as “exaggerated by the public”.
“The first thing I will tell you is that it is not as rampant as you think. When you say rampant, it means 70 per cent or more of lecturers are involved. There are only few cases of people who have not acted in the best manner expected of them. Majority of our members are decent people and they are hard working,” he said.
When asked by PREMIUM TIMES about steps taken by the union to make sure that the public do not distrust university certificates awarded to students, Mr Ogunyemi said the union has always warned its members not to put themselves in situations that will be difficult for the union to defend them.
“As a union, we do our best to make sure that our members keep to the expectations of parents and students relationship at universities. We have always implored them not to put themselves in situations that will be difficult for the union to defend them.”
Mr Ogunyemi said the cases reported so far could be an exaggeration of the situation.
“We want to say that we are aware of these cases that have been reported. We understand there could be exaggeration on campus and that is why we maintained that such issues should be treated with due process and that due process, our union will be part of it.”
He said when alleged lecturers are proved beyond reasonable doubt to have acted below expectation, the union will not obstruct justice.
“We have never done that and will not do that. If the suspect has been taken through due process, our union will not stand against justice. That is the standard rule.”
Also while responding to investigations ongoing in University of Lagos and Lagos State University, the official said: “There are structures within the system that demand that unions should be represented in the Disciplinary and Ethics Committees in every campus. That has been institutionalised.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported recently that Adekoya Martins, the spokesperson of LASU said investigation on lecturer alleged of sexual harassment is almost at the final stage.
“The case has gone beyond issuing a query to him (accused lecturer). It is now before the joint committee of Senate and Council Disciplinary Committee. When they give their final verdict, the council will look at it and release the final thing. Just give us a little time, it is almost at the final stage,” Mr Martins said then.
Also, UNILAG management has appealed to Linda Ikeji to assist in convincing Nwanna Joy, the lady making the allegations asking her, to defend the sexual harassment claim against the lecturer.
The institution’s vice-chancellor also said UNILAG may involve the police in coaxing her to appear.