According to a report by SaharaReporters, the Federal College Of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos state has refuted a publication by a Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay, which alleged the institution’s management installed CCTV cameras in hostels to watch students’ nakedness.
The school’s provost, Wahab Azeez, made this known on Friday during a press conference held at the institution’s academic board hall.
ThisDay had in the report published on March 6 alleged that the students protested the installation of the CCTV cameras which were installed to monitor students’ activities.
It read, “… the protest broke out in the early hours of yesterday, after the school’s Dean of Students, Wahab Azeez, was alleged to have entered the hostel at midnight, to chase students out, over some behaviour he couldn’t condone which he saw via the cameras.
“According to some of the students, the CCTV camera was installed almost everywhere in the female hostel thereby denying them of personal privacy.
“Some female students also revealed that the school management and lecturers had been watching their nakedness since after the installation of the cameras, as they claim their lecturers had said it to their faces before.”
But speaking on Friday, the provost, Azeez, said the students staged a protest against the ejection of some illegal female occupants, refuting the claims of the report.
The provost also pointed out that the CCTV cameras are part of an ongoing project towards safeguarding the lives and property of both students and staff of the college against attacks by some unscrupulous elements who have in times past, perpetrated evil in the hostel at night.
He said the cameras were not yet functional, questioning the allegations made by respondents in the report that some lecturers see their nakedness.
According to Azeez, the CCTV cameras, when fully installed, will not in any way violate the privacy of the students but will only be within and around the hostels to identify those who go in and out of the hostels.
Describing the college’s Dean of Student Affairs, Paul Ojelade, as a ‘decent and respected scholar’, the provost said there was no way the dean would have invaded the hostel at such a time quoted by the report — 12 am.
Azeez said the school recognises the rights of the students to agitate under a just cause and will not allow lecturers to threaten students with failure for speaking up.
He said, “It is true that some students demonstrated on Friday morning, March 5, 2021, basically to protest the ejection of some illegal female student occupants from the Independence Hall and not because of what was reported that it was ‘over some behaviour the Dean of student affairs couldn’t condone which he saw via the cameras’. This reportage was not true at all.
“The purported installation of cameras is still ongoing in the public spaces of in the college and not only in the female hostel in order to deny our cherished female students their personal privacy. How on earth would the management and lecturers that are saddled with the responsibility of overseeing young men and women turn around and be watching their nakedness?
“We challenge the ThisDay reporter and his informant to show evidence of this falsehood he published. We are teachers of teachers and provide teaching and learning and mould characters and we would not allow any criminal and indecent behaviours among the management officers, academic and non-teaching staff, and students. We equally challenge the ThisDay reporter to mention the names of lecturers who told the students that management and lecturers had been watching the female students’ nakedness since the purported installation of the CCTV cameras.
“How would ThisDay allow the kind of reportage to drag its reputation into the mud by publishing such falsehood without cross-checking the authenticity or otherwise? The management of our college will want ThisDay to independently contact the EXCO of the Students Union Government to confront the Dean of Student Affairs in writing where the Dean told them that the illegal female occupants ejected from the hostel that Friday night, were seen on the CCTV cameras before he came to chase them.
“The CCTV project came about as a result of attacks on students in the night, especially female students. From the college’s management position, the publication is not only damaging to the image of the college but malicious. For the records, the College had experienced breeches of the female hostels by hoodlums at night on several occasions. Similarly, with the incessant security challenges, the College processed and obtained TETfund sponsorship to install CCTV cameras on the perimeter of the fences of the college as well as approaches to buildings including male and female hostels (not in the room nor the bathroom or toilet areas).
“The installation of the CCTV system is just underway, yet to be completed and not yet active; therefore, no student privacy could have been breached by the system rather it was an installation done purely for security reasons.”
The provost further explained that the school management believes in students’ rights as guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution as it is one of the few where students’ union activities flourish.
He also refuted an allegation by one of the respondents in the report who said the college lacked a good environment to study. Azeez said the school has modern facilities in the classrooms, hostels, and library, and a students’ activities center which will soon be completed.
Reacting to another part of the publication which stated that 7, 000 students were cramped in one hostel, the provost said the school has a total of 3,646 students only while 1, 544 are comfortably accommodated in the hostel.
According to him, the law guiding the school hostels does not allow for ‘squatters’ or illegal occupants which was part of why the Dean of Students’ Affairs had gone to the hostel to evict some students from the place.
He urged the press to always verify claims before publishing to avoid damaging the image of institutions and individuals.