By Funmi Ogundare
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has expressed concern over the sharp increase in electricity tariff, saying that universities in the country are likely to face challenges as a result by the time schools resume next year.
Ogundipe, who raised the alarm recently, while giving an account of his stewardship during a media parley in Lagos, said before the COVID-19 lockdown, UNILAG was paying between N61 million and N62 million monthly as electricity bill, but with the increase in tariff, the university will be paying more than N90 million when students return to their hostels.
“Already, we have spent N45 million to buy diesel in three to four months that students are not on campus. Paying such a huge amount will certainly be a serious problem for the university,” he said, adding that UNILAG is planning to expand its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and lay the foundation of a unique building project.
Asked about the development on the sexual harassment allegations levelled against a lecturer in the Department of English Language, Professor Segun Awonusi, the vice-chancellor said the case has not been swept under the carpet, adding that the institution is waiting for the accuser to come forward to testify before the probe panel handling the matter.
“We want to assure you that this university will not cover any evil act. The committee headed by Professor Agomo is still in existence. If there is anybody involved in sexual harrasment, there are policy now on such issues. UNILAG has zero tolerance for sexual harrasment and any untoward practices.”
Explaining why there was division among staff when the institution witnessed the crisis that led to his suspension, Ogundipe said: “Anywhere you have three people, there will always be division, you cannot carry everybody along with you. In the next three weeks, we will be meeting with teaching and non-teaching staff and speak to their minds. We will do everything possible to work together and put the interest of the university ahead.”
Reacting to some issues that led to the crisis, he said his administration has been doing everything to ensure that its transaction is transparent and prudent in the management of resources.
The VC who used the occasion to inaugurate AVAS Technologies Limited, an innovative technology company, said the university has been exposing its students to entrepreneurship so that they can start businesses of their own.
The Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Mr. Faheed Olajide, expressed its willingness to partner other corporate organisations and institutions to support students and provide homegrown solutions to schools and individuals.
“Our solution solves a huge problem in our society such as ensuring biometric verification for retirees, prevention of examination malpractices, healthcare management and personnel management,” he said.