Nigerian Tertiary Institutions: Are They Really Character And Learning Institutions?

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

Every educational institution in Nigeria boasts that they inculcate both character and learning more especially tertiary institutions. We know that the purpose of being in a university, polytechnic, monotechnic, college and every other tertiary institution is not for learning purpose only but also to acquire good moral characters. This is repeated on and on even by some lecturers in universities. Polytechnics are not in exception in this regard.

But I don’t know if Nigerian tertiary institutions are character and learning institutions or a mere learning institution or a forum for both national and international knowledge seekers as others are fond of saying.  The reason for this is that the behaviours of some tertiary institutions students are totally out of what are called, known as good characters. Not to even talk of religious provisions, culturally or morally, they are fouling. For everyone who has been to some of the prominent Nigerian universities, polytechnics more especially those located in outskirts is aware.

It is obvious that in several Nigerian tertiary institutions, decency in dressing is rarely practised by all students. It is said that this happens in the presence of such institutions’ management. Some students don’t dress based on the said and known good characters not to talk of the institutional dress code. I don’t know whether the mode of dressing is not part of good characters in tertiary institutions. Sadly, it is in a Nigerian university, you will see a female student wearing an armless shirt, a vest-like shirt, a tight dress with her head uncovered.

Apart from all these, we are aware of several cases of sexual abuse or sexual harassment rocking Nigerian universities. Let me take this year, 2019 alone for example. Around July, there was a case of 100 level student who was allegedly raped and infected with HIV/AIDS by a Nigerian university lecturer, as reported by Daily Trust Online. This was indeed a big shame to the educational sector.

Recently, in October, an ex-student of a university in Nigeria demanded the prosecution of her former lecturer on a similar alleged sexual abuse case. She allegedly said that the lecturer was sexually abusing her while she was an undergraduate. This was contained in a video obtained by Channels Television. Wikki times reported in details.

The sad of all is that the best the university management and the Vice-Chancellor could do was to sack or suspend those lecturers. The institutions should have gone beyond that.

Ensuring cleanliness on student’s behaviours is also necessary. Regulating their mode of dressing will go a long way in curbing such immorality. But not everyone is concerned about these even some careless parent. But I don’t know if they are unaware or they are just pretending.

I always emphasised that it is not only the university management that is having a role to play, here, staffs, religious leaders and other constituted authorities in that domain, but the community also have a role to play in reducing the immorality rate there.

Notwithstanding, the parent should not just send their children to school only but should also check on the time to time more especially those in faraway states. We know what is happening in universities. We have read several news stories including a media report that revealed some students of a tertiary institution found pregnant.

We are all aware of the influence of peer group members on a child. How one can change becomes very easy these days. There is an advancement in information technology. With a phone, one can get connected to the internet. There are hygienic and unhygienic sites. I know that if I am to go around in my state and tell the parent about what their children are doing in only one tertiary institution, they would be surprised or won’t agree because they don’t know them as such. This is how powerful the influence of a peer group is. They deviate people easily.

I fear that at the end of the day, it would lead to degeneration of morals on the part of the students and the society which will lead to a widespread of immorality everywhere while on the other hand, those universities as prominent learning institutions in Nigeria will have a bad image.

Also, it would make people desert those institutions. No sensible person will take his child more especially female to those universities again. When these begin to happen, the number of student’s enrollment in such institutions will decrease thereby increasing the level of illiteracy among the younger generation more especially female.

I want to remind us that in some of our places, one of the major reasons for low female enrollment in tertiary institutions is these. But educationists are trying to convince the parent to allow their children to be enrolled in tertiary institutions while these are continuing to happen. I doubt if the level of female enrollment in higher institutions will increase like this.

In the end, I would still like to implore on vice-chancellors, rectors to take necessary measures against these dirty acts turned to habits in many Nigerian tertiary institutions before they quit. Allowing them to continue is a great threat to sound moral education in northern Nigeria.


Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim is of the Department of Mass Communication, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

He can be reached through


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