By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
Provost of the Federal College of Education, Technical (FCE-T), Akoka, Lagos, Dr. Wahab Azeez, has denied reports that the school’s management installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in female hostels.
Azeez described the story published by a national daily on the alleged installation of CCTV in female hostels as false and damaging to the corporate image of the institution.
He debunked the reports at a briefing and stressed that the publication was malicious, unethical and unprofessional in all ramifications as regards the rules that guide news gathering and reporting.
Azeez, who clarified the issues at stake, said some students protested on Friday, March 5, 2021, over the eviction of illegal female residents of Independent Hall.
He said: “No institution allows squatters. There are rules guiding students’ stay in the hostels. They are not expected to accommodate anyone, it’s illegal to squat. Before we carried out the operation, the management had warned students about it.
“We warned the students ahead. Five persons are supposed to be in a room, we checked and discovered they were 10 students. We didn’t enter their rooms, we were outside and called everyone out.’’
He added that the number of students in each hall was based on available space, coupled with COVID-19 protocols, such that strict rules were introduced.
“There is no institution that allows squatters in their hostels. We got a hint of the illegal occupants and gave a stern warning before we embarked on the ejection exercise.
“So, we are using this forum to correct the impression and other misrepresentation of our college published in the newspaper. It is true that some students demonstrated on Friday, March 5, 2021, against the ejection of illegal female occupants and not because of what was reported,” he said.
The provost explained that installation of cameras was still ongoing in public areas of the college and not in the female hostels, adding, “the CCTV camera project is still on and is not hidden camera.”
According to him, the CCTV project came about due to the frequent attacks on students at night, in which their phones, laptops, cash and other valuables were carted away, especially female students.
“A student was murdered in late 2019 and I got the police involved. The Divisional Police Officer gave some security tips that we embraced. I had to write to TETFund for funding of the CCTV project.
“Due to the security challenges, the college processed and obtained TETFund to install CCTV cameras on the perimeter fences, buildings, including outside male and female hostels,” he said.
Furthermore, he stated that, contrary to the publication that the college has 7,000 students cramped in the hostels beyond its capacity. The total population was 3,646 and 1,544 were housed in the college hostels that were not crowded.
“The students are comfortably accommodated in the college hostel. Besides, we have rules, regulations guiding the hostels and do not support, encourage illegal occupants or squatters,” he added.
“The CCTV cameras are not in the rooms, bathrooms or even toilet areas.The installation is ongoing and has not been activated. Therefore, no student privacy can be breached by the system, rather, it’s an installation done purely for security reasons,” he said.