Federal Government has launched an investigation into allegations bothering on sexual harassment on students,flaunting of due processes in procurement and other misdemeanor in selected Nigerian universities and polytechnics.
Minister of Education,Adamu Adamu dispatched the panels to the various institutions after a brief inaugural ceremony in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the ministry,since his assumption of office, has been flooded with several petitions,some of which needed to be substantiated before sanctions could be applied.
He said,”the ministry decided to set up these ten ad hoc fact finding committees in response to petitions received from different stakeholders,within and outside the institutions,with variety of allegations bordering on irregularities,abuse of due process,sexual harassment,fraud and corruption among others.
“In order to get to the root of the matter and ensure that justice is done,and it is seen to be done,we deemed it necessary to verify the authenticity or otherwise of the claims in these petitions,this verification is the crux of this assignment.”
Adamu argued that some of these allegations made against the governing councils have indirectly created mistrust and hostilities within the institutions and have hindered smooth conduct of academic activities to the detriment of students.
While the investigations would last,Adamu said the panel members were at liberty to request for any officer,official document or records or relevant sources that can help the course of their investigations.
Among the first set of institutions to be visited by the ad hoc panels include Federal University Dutsin-Ma,Kastina State,Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture,Umudike,Abia state,University of Uyo,Akwa Ibom state,Federal University,Kashere,Gombe State,University of Abuja,FCT.
Others are University of Nigeria,Nsukka,Enugu state, University of Calabar,Cross River state,Federal Polytechnic,Auchi,Edo state,Federal Polytechnic,Oko,Anambra State and Yaba College of Technology,Lagos state.
The panels which have a ten-day time frame to turn up their recommendations, would among other issues,investigate all allegations contained in the petitions against the institutions or individual.
They would also determine the veracity of the claims and counter claims by considering the circumstances and talking to as many witnesses as possible,including meeting writers of some of the petitions with a view to establishing the basis of their claims.
Part of the mandate of the panels also revolves around investigating the application of funds,particularly the special grants and loans meant for specific projects,to investigate the procedure of contracts awards,admission processes as well as appointments and promotions and to recommend appropriate penalties in each case.
Permanent Secretary,Federal Ministry of Education,Folashade Yemi-Esan, in her remarks,said the allegations were far too weighty that government cannot afford to sweep them under the carpet.
“Since the coming on board of the present administration,the hope of Nigerians for government,transparency and due process has been rekindled,it is this hope that made concerned Nigerians to draw the attention of government to some alleged untoward conduct in some of our tertiary institutions,”she said.