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Prof Olabisi Aina of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has lamented the inability of government-owned universities to successfully rid their campuses of substance abuse.

Aina said the ongoing fight against drug abuse in public higher institutions 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.

The don said this while delivering a lecture themed, ‘Drug and Substance Abuse: Where Did We Go wrong?’ during a three-day workshop organised for students and other stakeholders at the university.

She said, “Although we have more private tertiary institutions now in Nigeria, but they don’t have up to 10 percent of the total number of the student population in the country. That means that 90 per cent 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 by 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 the sons and daughters of influential people. They are even the major 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.”

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, said the main focus in the fight against drug abuse should be on non-abusers, who are exposed to all information about drug use and effects of abuse from experimenting.

Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor administration, Prof Ajila, Ogunmodede added that one of the ways the menace could be brought to an end in the universities was through effective health education.

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