…as Unizik moves to tackle prostitution, suicide, depression, among students
Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Guidance and Counselling Department of the Faculty of Education Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra state, has observed that cases of suicide, marital infidelity, prostitution as well as other anti-social behaviours are rampant among students of the institution as most students who are married, remove their wedding rings upon gaining admission to wallow in promiscuity and marital infidelity.
It also observed that the increase in hotels in Awka had equally led to the increase in prostitution among Unizik students. The department mentioned that the temporary site of the institution popularly known as Unizik Tem Site is a den of prostitution and alcoholism attributing the problems to psychological depression among students.
The Guidance and Counselling department during a 3-day sensitisation cum awareness programme on social cum psychological problems confronting students emphasized the need for students and the wider society to seek guidance and counselling before making decisions that could make or mar their future endeavours. This was basically why the guidance and counselling department embarked on the campaign to sensitize staff and students to report cases of depression and not quarantine oneself in solitude only to suffer and die in silence.
The 3-day sensitization programme which featured road-show within the university community in Awka, the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences Agulu as well as Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, saw the department preaching against all forms of social vices inimical and detrimental to the students and the need also to seek the services of counsellors to solve psycho-social problems militating against their academic pursuit.
The exercise however took the counsellors on a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku, who addressed them through the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) Prof. Charles Okechukwu Esimone saying that the university was in full support of the move to address psychological problems confronting students of the institution. He commended the guidance and counselling department for taking the bold initiative to sensitize staff and students of the school on psychological problems that might lead to depression.
Esimone posited that the university was not only a place for teaching, learning and research but also a place for social reformation and rehabilitation adding that as teachers, they are supposed to monitor the behaviour of staff and students to avoid moral decadence. The DVC Academics, who suggested that student counsellors could carry out counselling activities in the school hostels, observed that cases of suicide were escalating in Unizik and according to him, it was important to cater for the psychological needs of staff and students.
The Head of Department Guidance and Counselling, Dr. Chinyelu Nwokolo, on her part, noted that there was a prevalence of deviant behaviour among youths and that students were depressed on account of undue societal influence thereby exposing them to academic and other socio-psychological problems. She pointed out that the aim of the awareness programme was to ensure behaviour change among students whom she said were more susceptible to delinquent juvenile tendencies while advocating for preventive counselling which required counselling from childhood.
Meanwhile, a professor of counselling psychology and lecturer in the department of Guidance and Counselling, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Can Nwankwo, observed that most students were frustrated and disillusioned noting that some had been in the university for a period of 10 years without graduation. Nwankwo stated that some had formed the habit of taking alcohol and other hard substances day in day out without a clear vision for direction and purpose. He reiterated the fact that the number of hotels in Awka had equally increased prostitution among the students. As a result, the counselling psychology expert disclosed that the departmental clinic was currently handling cases of psychological, socio-personal, educational as well as career problems. He added that some students were married with children but hid their wedding rings while in school, stressing that campus lifestyle was responsible for such immorality adding that social problems such as rape had made most students become paranoid with low self-esteem.
Nwankwo however stated that the Guidance and Counselling department was assisting students to solve social, psychological, marital, academic and emotional problems and that through the awareness campaign, more people would be willing to bring issues for discussions as well as receive professional advice from counsellors on how to live a decent and worthy lifestyle devoid of anti-social behaviour.