The recently reinstated University of Lagos, Unilag, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has said the university lost about £40 million in research grants by faculty members during the crisis that ravaged the citadel of learning for almost three months, August to November, 2020.
He stated this on Monday during an interactive session with newsmen in Akoka, Lagos.
The crisis led to the suspension of Ogundipe by the Governing Council headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin, SAN, the appointment of an acting VC and the eventual recall of Ogundipe, and the dissolution of the Council by the Federal Government.
The VC, while reacting to some issues that led to the crisis, said his administration was transparent and prudent in the management of resources.
“There is nothing like misuse of funds. We are transparent and judicious in the use of resources. We have nothing to fear or hide. Our financial books are open and clean, ” he said.
On the possible financial challenges that the university may face when students finally resume, the VC mentioned the sharp increase in electricity tariff.
“Before the Coronavirus lockdown, we were paying between N61 million and N62 million as electricity bill monthly and now with the increment in tariff, the university will definitely be paying more than N90 million monthly by the time the students return to hostels.
“And how to pay such a huge amount will certainly be a serious problem for the university,” he stressed.
He said, however, that the university was seriously in an aggressive mood in expanding its internally generated revenue base.
When asked about the latest as regards the sexual harassment allegations levelled against Prof. Segun Awonusi, a lecturer in the Department of English Language, and Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, a former sub-dean in the Faculty of Art, he said their cases were still under investigations while the two dons were still on suspension.
According to him, “the case against the former is foot-dragging because of the inability of supposedly accuser to come forward to testify before the probe panel handling the matter, while that of the latter is simply because of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“But I want to assure the public that the University of Lagos will not cover up anybody or sweep any of the cases or any other under the carpet. We will surely get to the root of the matters and justice will be served accordingly. But I will not pre-empt what the outcome of the panels could be,” he explained.
He said UNILAG had a zero-tolerance for sexual harassment and other forms of untoward practices by both the staff members and students and therefore would not compromise on any.