A Professor at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Olabisi Aina, has lamented the inability of government-owned universities to successfully get rid of substance abuse from their campuses.
Prof. Aina stated that the ongoing fight against drug abuse in public universities would continue to be an uphill task until Nigerian universities are freed to deal with even students from influential families when caught in the act.
She said this while delivering a lecture themed, ‘Drug and Substance Abuse: Where did we go wrong?’ during a 3-day workshop organised for students and other stakeholders at the university.
“Aithough we have more private tertiary institutions now in Nigeria, but they don’t have up to 10% of the total number of the student population in the country. That means that 90% of them are in public institutions.
“So, if anything negative is going to happen among the students, it would be in the public universities and a lot of these vices are happening because the schools are burdened with many problems.
“Besides, waging war against drug and substance abuse in public universities, especially the ones owned b the Federal Government, could be difficult. If what happens in some private schools is brought to government-owned institutions, the persons involved would lose their jobs with just a phone call.
“How much freedom do we have dealing with these children as if they belong to us? Most times, these students are untouchable because they are sons and daughters of influential people. They are even the majot drivers of this problem because they have the money to spend and attract people. Except we separate politics from the running of a university, fighting drug abuse will be difficult,” Prof. Aina stated.
The Vice Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Eyitpoe Ogunbodede, in his remarks, stated that the main focus in the fight against drug and substance abuse should be on non-abusers, who are exposed to all information about drug use and effects of abuse from experimenting, adding that one of the ways the manace could be brought to an end in the universities was through effective health education.