Prof. Olusola Kehinde, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), has described as mischievous and baseless, allegations by some Muslim students and members of the public on the social media describing him as “anti-Islam”.
The vice chancellor stated this in a statement issued in Abeokuta on Monday by the institution’s Head of Directorate of Public Relations, Mr. Kola Adepoju.
Kehinde described the allegations as cheap blackmail that was deliberately calculated and mischievously intended to give the vice chancellor a bad name and smear his image.
He said though, the university, with other stakeholders , were working towards amicable resolution of the aspect of the dress code that bordered on Niqob, saying it was imperative to correct the mischievous impression that he was anti-Islam.
Kehinde reiterated that he was committed to his Oath of Office to preside over the affairs of the university without any fear or favour.
He emphasised that the position of the university on Niqob is not his personal decision as Prof. Kehinde nor in his official capacity as vice chancellor.
He recalled categorically that he was on Sabbatical leave at Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo in 2017 when the University Senate approved the dress code wondering why a dress code that has been in place since then should now make some people to dub him as anti-Islam.
He said if such allegation is anything to go by, then the entire Senate of the University which approved the dress code in 2017, and which comprised fellow Muslims and Christians are indirectly tagged as anti-Islam.
Rather, the Vice – Chancellor affirmed that it is a statutory dictate of the extant laws of the University that was invoked by prescribed authorities which is bigger than himself, any individual or group of individuals on campus.
Prof. Kehinde said that the issue was hijacked by mischief makers who saw it as the much awaited opportunity to settle personal scores with him and his team for not compromising standard.
Prof. Kehinde pointed out that it is unfounded and mischievous to call a Vice-Chancellor who nominated a practicing Muslim as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), and who was eventually elected by Senate.
He stated further that it is illogical to dub him an hater of Islam when within his six months in office, he appointed many members of the University Muslim Community as Heads of Departments and Directors of organs of the University, among others.
The Vice-Chancellor said that it is unfair to tag a Vice-Chancellor who insisted on entering and indeed entered the mosque to address members of the University Muslim Community therein, during the Jumat Service marking the 30th Convocation Ceremony of the University recently.
He pleaded with members of the University Community to always beam the searchlight of the extant laws of the University on their decisions and actions, irrespective of social and religious leanings.
Prof. Kehinde assured the University Muslim Community that he has nothing personally and officially against them, urging them to disregard the erroneous impression.
The Vice-Chancellor promised that he won’t, because of the Niqob issue, witch-hunt any Muslim on campus, assuring that he will remain a father to all religions as the Vice-Chancellor.
He urged members of the University Community to remain united, irrespective of social and religious differences and to support his Administration towards achieving the collective goal of making FUNAAB a model of excellence internationally.
Prof. Kehinde pleaded with any member of the University Community who is aggrieved over the issue of Niqob to calm his or her frayed nerves in the interest of peace and progress of the University.
He appealed to members of the University Community not to resort to violence when pressing home their demands because any act capable of breaching public peace on campus may cause disruptions in the academic calendar of the University.