The University of Lagos has shut the ‘cold room’ lecturers were accused of using to sexually assault female students.
The Principal Assistant Registrar (Communication Unit) of the university, Taiwo Oloyede, announced in a statement yesterday.
“Management at its emergency meeting of October 7, 2019, suspended Dr. Igbeneghu from work immediately and barred him from the university academic areas while the suspension subsists unless invited by a panel constituted by the university to investigate the matter.
“In addition to this, the university management has ordered the shut down of the Staff Club 'cold room' mentioned in the documentary for further investigation. The so-called 'cold room' is a functions room that may have been abused because this is a deviation from the purpose for which it was created (meetings, seminars, events, etc.),” the statement said.
The ‘cold room’ was mentioned by a lecturer of the school, Boniface Igbeneghu, in a documentary filmed discretely by the BBC.
In the documentary, Igbeneghu described the room as a place lecturers meet to “touch students’ breasts” at the staff club of the university.
According to him, “nothing good comes free” and the ‘cold room’ experience is the price some female students have to pay to have good grades.
Meanwhile, just hours after the release of the documentary, the school’s Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Wale Babalakin, announced the suspension of Igbeneghu over allegations of sexual assault disclosed in the documentary.
He also noted that the university council would investigate the matter.
In the same vein, Igbeneghu has been suspended by the Foursquare Gospel Church where he is a part-time pastor.
Read Full Text Of Unilag's Statement
UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS SUSPENDS DR BONIFACE IGBENEGHU, BARS HIM FROM UNILAG AND SHUTS DOWN THE STAFF CLUB “COLD ROOM”
The University of Lagos Management today suspended Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Faculty of Arts who was caught in a sting operation by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) titled “Sex for Grades”. The trending video chronicled cases of sexual harassment of female students by some lecturers in some West African Universities including University of Lagos.
Management at its emergency meeting of October 7, 2019 suspended Dr. Igbeneghu from work immediately and barred him from the University academic areas while the suspension subsists unless invited by a Panel constituted by the University to investigate the matter.
In addition to this, the University Management has ordered the shutdown of the Staff Club “Cold Room” mentioned in the documentary for further investigation. The so-called “Cold Room” is a Functions Room that may have been abused because this is a deviation from the purpose for which it was created (meetings, seminars, events, etc.).
The University assures members of the public that any other lecturer mentioned in the full version of the operation which is to be aired later today, will also be suspended to ensure a proper investigation is carried out.
The University is embarrassed and dissociates itself totally from this act(s) and any inappropriate behaviour of staff with female students and vice versa. The University has a well-articulated “Policy on Sexual Harassment, Sexual and Romantic Relationships”.
A copy of the University Sexual Harassment Policy was distributed to all members of staff and can also be obtained on the University website: https://unilag.edu.ng/wp-content/uploads/SEXUAL-HARRASMENT-UNILAG-COMMUNICATION-UNITS.pdf
Various Committees over time have been set up to investigate reports received and those found guilty/culpable were sanctioned. To ensure our students are aware of the various opportunities for reporting any form of sexual harassment or misconduct towards them, the University organises an orientation programme for all new entrants sensitising them of the University’s zero-tolerance policy and acquainting them with the mechanisms for reporting.
The University Counselling Centre, Medical Centre and Division of Students’ Affairs amongst other organs have been well positioned to address complaints by students. These organs have cut off the bureaucracy limiting the effectiveness of the Policy, by the direct reporting system of these Centres to the Vice-Chancellor. The University encourages students who have evidence to come forward. They are assured of their anonymity and safety.
As a reputable Institution and one of the foremost Universities in Nigeria and sub-Sahara Africa, we are highly embarrassed by these allegations and we will do all that is necessary to ensure that this menace is checked in our institution.
The University of Lagos is committed to providing conducive and safe learning environment where future leaders are trained to take responsibilities for their action.
Mrs. Taiwo Oloyede
Principal Assistant Registrar (Communication Unit)