Prof Charles Esimone, the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK), Anambra State, has removed Mr Afam Ezeaku, a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, and others accused of sex harassment by students of the university.
Dr Emmanuel Ojukwu, Special Adviser to the Vice Chancellor on Public Relations and Special Duties, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday.
This comes after the students of the university on Thursday reportedly protested against sexual harassment in the school.
It had been reported that the protesting students, predominantly females, during the protest demanded the Vice Chancellor to immediate release the report by Prof. Obi Oguejiofor-led panel, which they said, indicted some staff of the university.
They (the students) said they wondered why nothing had been done to those indicted in the panel report.
Ojukwu, who had reportedly confirmed that the school had set up a sexual harassment committee which was treating the matter “very strictly,” however on Friday, said that it was not true that students of the university protested against sexual harassment.
According to the release, Ojukwu said, “It is important to state that there was no protest of any sort in the university.
“However, there is an ongoing investigation concerning alleged sexual harassment by some lecturers. The Vice-Chancellor immediately removed the affected lecturers from their official positions and issued those affected strong warning letters in the affected departments.”
Ojukwu said that the bottleneck in tackling the issue of sexual harassment in the school was that the students who levelled the allegations did not usually come forward to testify before the panel.
“It is important to state that there was no protest of any sort in the university.
“All cases of sexual harassment that were known to the institution, the institution has brought the culprits involved before the panel and cautioned them by giving them letters of warning and removing them from any official position they were holding.
“The reason for this is that the institution wanted the students who made the allegations to come forward, but they refused, so that is the hindrance. You know, the university has to be careful so that it does not miscarry justice, because if the lecturers concerned go to court, it will be a liability on the school.
“This is because the students who lay complaints don’t usually come forward to testify and what the institution has done is to warn the lecturers pending when the students would come to testify,” he said.
Ojukwu added that the Vice Chancellor additionally summoned the affected departments to a meeting where he expressed the university’s displeasure and warned lecturers and staff to desist from all actions that will bring the name of the university to disrepute.
He said the VC warned that the university management would severely punish erring staff especially those who are molesting or sexually harassing students.