The University of Lagos has provided a drug test kit in its medical centre to examine students suspected to be on hard drugs. This has become necessary to check the menace of drug abuse among students of the University.
Prof. Rahaman Bello, outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the institution, confirmed this at a forum with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Bello said that the initiative became necessary in order to combat the upward trend of drug abuse in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“Drug abuse is a major problem for every institution, particularly, those in the cities. We have gone ahead in the University of Lagos to address it.
“With the test kit, anyone who is suspected, his or her urine or blood depending on what we want to do, is collected for test.
“The thing about drug is that when you take it, it will be in your blood for a long time, so you cannot say , I did not use it once the test kit detects it.
“Before, we start using the test kit, everyone we picked denied using drug since we could not find any evidence,” he said. According to him, the university has been able to pin down victims of drug abuse with the test kits. They were however granted amnesty by the university authority.
Although the University laws stipulates that any student caught using hard drugs should be expelled, the authorities have chosen to rehabilitate them, NAN reported.
“With the rehabilitation, the victims are given two or three semesters to ‘get clean’. By this, we mean they will visit the medical centre on monthly basis to get tested.
“If after two or three visits, you are found clean, we will admit you back to the system, if not you are sent out.
“This we do not to unnecessarily punish them, but to assist them to find a way to regain themselves,” he said.
NAN reported that about 100 students of the University of Lagos were detected to be using hard drugs in 2016.
“One hundred out of over 50,000 students,(35,000 – full-time and 15,000 to 17,000 -part-time) may seem insignificant, but to us, one person on drug is a problem to the university community .
“If the individual is not stopped, he or she will influence so many others,” he said.
Rahaman Bello also revealed the University’s strategy for checking cultism in the institution was to establish an intelligence network which gathers information on suspicious activities. This has enabled them to crackdown on such nefarious activities promptly.
“We get to know once anything comes up, and we nip it in the bud. We may not have completely wiped off cultism but it has been drastically reduced,” he said.