Redeemer University Insists, Our Student Not Involved In Banker’s Murder!

The Vice-Chancellor, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, in this interview with SEGUN OLUGBILE, speaks on the deepening involvement of undergraduates in drugs Recently, a student of this university was arrested for the alleged murder of a banker, while some others were said to be involved in illicit drugs.
Why are these things happening in a faith-based university such as yours?
I know that these issues will come up in this interview but let me say that at RUN, we don’t hide evil. Why? This is God’s own university and if you know God, you will discover that He never sweeps any issue under the carpet, no matter your relationship with Him. That is why He called David an adulterer and a murderer, even when he was a king. It is true that one of our students was arrested by the police for an alleged involvement in the death of a banker. But the truth of the matter is that the young man was not in any way involved in the murder. What happened was that his Blackberry phone was stolen. But rather than report the loss to the police or the parents, he just kept mum. Those who stole the phone sold it to another person who happened to belong to a murderous gang. You know that the BB device has a pin number that is allotted to its
owner, so it was through this that the young man was caught by the policewho thought that he had a hand in the murder.
But thank God for his father who used his own resources to obtain the calllogs made before and after the BB was stolen from the service provider. Itwas through this that it was discovered that the student never had any connection with the banker. However, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution is still with the fact of the case and we believe that he will be finally be totally free because he has not been found guilty by the court oflaw.
He maintained his innocence when he was interrogated by the police and his testimony was in tandem with that of his father. As far as we are concerned, he is innocent and, as a university, we are praying for him. I’m sure the DPP will not include him in the case if the state decides to prosecute the suspects.
What about those involved in illicit drugs and the impression being createdby some critics that private universities are now home to all manner of vices?
Let me correct the impression that private universities accommodate irresponsible behaviour. That is not correct. You should know that most of these students have formed their habits before they come to the university. Some had been into drugs since they were in the secondary school. For instance, some of the students involved in illicit drugs and werecaught at RUN did not start this habit in the university. We discovered thatthey started from the secondary school. We investigated one of them and we discovered that the young man get into drugs when he was in secondary school. It is rampant in our society, no thanks to the way and manner celebrated icons with no moral values are being respected in the country. Another reason why it is rampant is because young people are running away from realities by becoming increasingly rebellious, thinking that since government does not care for them, they will resort to other means of finding fulfilment.
It is becoming endemic, but why are we talking about it in RUN when otherinstitutions are keeping quiet as if all is well?
We are doing so because we don’t want to hide it. We know that there is a problem and that was why when we noticed it, we declared an amnesty by calling on any of our students that has drug problems to come out so that we can collaborate with them and their parents to help them.
Did any student take advantage of the policy?
Well, we stressed that whoever came out would be forgiven, while whoever refused to do so would be expelled if caught. Only two of them came out. But later, we caught one who was discovered to be the major distributor of illicit drugs with retail outlets on campus. When he was caught, he knew his days on campus were numbered and he said we should let him go.
Yet we told him: ‘Before you go, tell us your collaborators.’ He did. But we also did our own findings and we invited all of them for urine test to help us make informed decisions based on medical test. Those who tested positive were made to face a disciplinary committee in line with the university regulations. We followed due process and at the end of the exercise, 12 of them were to face expulsion, but some parents and even some of them pleaded that they should not be expelled. We considered their plea but sent the students involved to CADAM, a ministry involved in the rehabilitation of drug addicts, for a year to undergo our Recovery of Destiny (ROD) scheme. If they showed enough remorse and the management of CADAM said that they could be called back, we would reabsorb them. Eleven of the affected students agreed to go to CADAM, but one took the university to court. Thank God, the court has thrown out the suit and the 11 students that went to CADAM are now doing well. What gave you the strong belief that the problem is over with the 11 repentant students, knowing how difficult it is to tame addiction? I personally interviewed the boys and I’m convinced that they have changed. In fact, they are now spearheading a campaign against drugs.
Some of them have gained new skills in music and they are back on campus doing well in their academics. But the one that went to court, backed by his parents, is the loser. The ROD model we adopted at RUN is based on the scripture, which says ‘Spare the rod and spoil a child’. We don’t want them to be spoilt.
This is the Redeemer’s University and I’m happy that the 11 young men have been redeemed by the Redeemer under the ROD initiative based on Psalm 23:4.
Here, we don’t spare the rod but we comfort with the rod and staff. But aswe apply the rod, so also do we reward acts of honesty, academic ability and godly virtues in our students.
For instance, you can win a scholarship if your Cumulative Grade Point Average is 4.5. That is why our students have been doing well in national and international competitions. Recently, our Political Science students went to Ondo State and won N.5m for doing well in a good government initiative; students in the Insurance Department also donated desks and chairs to a public school. To what extent has the proprietor and the Visitor to RUN been abiding by the corporate
governance rule in the university? In other words, how autonomous is the management of RUN? I can tell you categorically that here in RUN, we enjoy full autonomy. Our Visitor, Dr. Enoch Adeboye, doesn’t interfere withthe affairs of the university. Nobody can go to him and say, ‘Please, help me to prevail on the university to bend the rules for my child.’
He will never agree. It has happened once since I became the VC, when a parent whose child misbehaved, went to Baba to prevail on us not to sanction his son. Baba simply told him off, saying ‘That’s beyond me, sorry.’ You know, Dr. Adeboye attained a senior level before he left the university. So, he knows what to do and how a university operates and he has never interfered with what we are doing here. You should also know that we are blessed to have renowned eggheads in our governing council. Our Board of Trustees Chairman is a professor of Law, Yemi Osibajo (SAN), Prof. Fola Aboaba is our chairman of council, while Prof. Tekeno Tamuno is our chancellor.
With these top academics, we enjoy freedom and autonomy.
But Baba, together with his wife, Mama Adeboye, has always been helpingus to raise money for the development of the university. What is your reaction to the ongoing strike by public university lecturers and do you think it is good for the health of the nation’s university system? Strike is a choice, but a lot of people will say that private universities don’t go on strike because they charge high tuition. I will say that is wrong, because there are state universities that charge high fees too.
How do you react to the criticism that churches that run universities often charge tuition that their members who contribute to the institutions will not be able to pay? Let me say that a university is universal in nature. So, when you set up a university, it is not just for your church members.
It is for everybody. However, I want to let you know that tuition alone cannot sustain any private university in Nigeria.
Do you know what the worth of a professor is?
And you have to pay him monthly. At RUN, we have 575 workers, including220 faculty members who collectively earn about N100m monthly. So, how much are you going to charge students if you must depend on tuition alone?

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