The Kaduna State University (KASU), has set up a committee to investigate Bala Umar, one of its academic staff, who was accused of soliciting sex in exchange for grades.
The university administration, during a meeting on Wednesday, said it had set up a committee to investigate allegations made against the lecturer, following a one-man protest against him by a female graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
The accuser, whose name wasn’t disclosed, had alleged that Umar, who was dismissed at ABU for sexual misconduct and later employed by KASU, is not fit to be a lecturer in any institution across the country.
KASU’s deputy vice-chancellor (DVC), academics, Abdullahi Ashafa, who chaired the meeting, reiterated the university’s zero tolerance for misconduct among members of staff and stated that it would mete out disciplinary measures to those found wanting.
“Sometimes in the first week of October, a lady who was an ex-student of ABU tweeted that former staff of the institution who is employed by KASU, had sexually harassed her when he was a staff at ABU,” he said.
“The vice-chancellor of KASU quickly formed a committee to investigate the issue, not only to clear its name but to reassure parents and students who are studying here or intend to study of their safety.
“KASU is building a reputable name as a centre of excellence. Such allegations need to be investigated and cleared. The incident did not occur in KASU. But the way the issue is being portrayed is like we provided a safe haven for those whose appointments were terminated elsewhere.
“Umar was appointed in error; there was no much investigation to ascertain what made him leave ABU at the age of 54.”
Ashafa disclosed that two committees were set up; one was to investigate Umar’s case, while the second was for general investigation on events on campus relating to both academic and non-academic employees of the institution.
“The second committee is to also collect testimonies and memoranda from past and current students who are victims of such misconduct; and who are willing to share their experiences,” he said.
“The university is interested in unravelling such incidences that have not come to light, and would take drastic measures to serve as deterrence to would-be offenders.’
“If found guilty of tarnishing the image of the university, he will be queried, suspended and placed on half salary, then the reports and other decisions will be tabled before the university council for a final decision.”
Hauwa Evelin-Yusuf of the sociology department, who chaired the first committee, said that members were to investigate the appointment of Umar, as well as the reasons he left ABU, and make recommendations.
“ABU terminated Umar’s appointment on misconduct bordering on extortion of students in July 2013 and KASU absorbed him in September 2013,” she said.
“Our findings showed that Umar should have been employed on a contract basis if his services were needed because he has no PhD and was 54 years at that time.
“We also discovered some discrepancies in his submission and that of some students that were interviewed, there were allegations of unethical behaviours and sexual advances.
“There were no evidences to substantiate the allegations, though there were students whose names were mentioned.
“Further investigation should also be carried in a twist in the case when a student came into the university vicinity carrying a placard that she was a victim.
“We cannot identify the lady, but we have her picture and we need to look for her, know who she is and to ascertain if she is a student of KASU or ABU, we do not have that information.
“This is why we recommend another committee because this other issue came after our reports have been concluded.’’
This is coming in the heat of a BBC documentary exposing randy lecturers at the University of Lagos.