UNIBEN VC backs varsities’ reopening, says I’m ‘too fragile to be beaten up’
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof Lilian Salami, has said it’s become expedient for the school management to resume academic activities as soon as possible even amid the risk posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the university management will enforce strict compliance to Covid-19 protocols to protect students and members of staff from being exposed to coronavirus infections.
The VC said resumption had become compulsory for academic activities to resume as some lecturers have been receiving barrage of messages from frustrated students who threaten to beat them up should the closure of public universities continue.
The vice-chancellor spoke while featuring on NTA Good Morning Nigeria breakfast show on Wednesday.
Salami said, “I want to say categorically that Vice-Chancellors are responsible persons having gone through the furnace. We will not in any way want to expose our staff, our students to any danger.
“Having said that, public-funded universities are far from what they ought to be. We have said this over and over that there is poor funding, infrastructure are down and decayed. The ratio of staff to students is quite large that for proper learning to take place, we have to address these issues.
“We know that these issues exist but how long are we going to wait until these issues are taken care of? These should not continue to be used as reasons why schools should not reopen. We will make do with what we have now available. For instance, we know that residential students are about 10 to 15 per cent of total students’ population. We will as much as possible enforce compliance and that is all we can do.
“Yes, they (students) are very restless; yes, they will want to go and visit friends but we will try as much as possible – and I think all Vice-Chancellors will do that – to protect our students and our staff so that we don’t unduly expose them to COVID-19. But to think that if all of these are not taken care of, we will not reopen, I can assure you that in the next ten years, the kids will all be home.
“We know all these deficiencies and we will continue to adjust and renovate the structures on campus. It is a gradual thing, there is no magic about it.
“On a lighter note, I have heard some students say, look, if you don’t open, we will beat up the Vice-Chancellors and start beating up the lecturers. Maybe other Vice-Chancellors can t