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‘Drug abuse, sexual harassment must be fought in higher institutions’

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United States Government Officials, Clemson Ayegbusi (left); Madison Conoley; Fulbright President in Nigeria, Dr Adele Garkida; and Vice Chancellor, Bowen University, Iwo, Prof Joshua Ogunwole at the annual conference and 75th celebration of Fulbright programme at the university.<br />

Concerned stakeholders drawn from various organisations have lamented increased cases of drug abuse and sexual harassment in the nation’s institutions and stressed the need to fight the menace to a stand still. 

They included United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; First Secretary of U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Madison Conoley; Vice-Chancellor, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, Prof. Joshua Ogunwole; Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission  (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye; former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie; a former presidential candidate, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, and immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof.  Kayode Soremekun, among others.

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They spoke at the 16th annual conference and 75th anniversary of Fulbright Alumni Association of Nigeria (FAAN) held at Bowen University, with the theme: “Addressing societal menace and social disorders: Sexual harassment and substance abuse in tertiary institutions.”

Prof. Okojie emphasised the need for family values, saying no society could survive without family values.

He added that deliberate efforts must be made to address the menace.

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Prof. Ogunwole said sexual harassment and substance abuse should be tackled squarely to help the larger society.

He said: “One of the challenges today is that we have many young people who are into drugs, who are sexually abused by their colleagues and older generations. I think it has come to a time where tertiary institutions should address this, help society find solutions to it and things to do to mitigate it”.

Leonard, a Fulbright scholar, and Conoley, said the male gender should also be considered as victims of sexual harassment while finding solutions to the scourge.

Prof. Soremekun said the scourge could be linked to the political malaise in the land, while Prof. Sonaiya warned that the scourge may destroy communities and called for implementable recommendations to have a better society.

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In her remarks, FAAN President, Dr. Adele Garkida, stressed the need for Fulbright scholars, who are mostly lecturers, to lend their voices to the menace of drug abuse and sexual harassment.

Prof. Owasanoye, who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner (Legal), Mr. Adenekan Shogunle, identified concentration of power, especially in the hands of few individuals, as one of the factors responsible for cases of sexual harassment.

Shogunle said sexual harassment is not peculiar to educational institutions alone, adding that there were reports of such cases in the civil service, law enforcement agencies, and judicial workforce.

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