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Sex-for-marks and varsity sanity

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Sex-for-marks and varsity sanity

Randy lecturers, who are supposed to mould students in character and learning, to qualify them for the award of degrees and certificates, are on the prowl in Nigeria’s ivory towers, cajoling, coercing and/or blackmailing students for sex-for-marks.
In times past, the issue of sexual harassment of female students was associated with junior lecturers, but it has since crept onto the upper echelon of the academia, such that recent culprits are Professors expected to be of high academic standing and moral rectitude.
Involved in the latest libidinous exploits are lecturers from three premier federal and state universities, to wit, the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, and the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Lagos State University (LASU).
While only the OAU management has dispensed justice in the sordid affair, sacking the offender, Mr. Richard Akindele, a Professor of Management and Accounting at the Faculty of Administration, the cases of the lecturers at UNILAG and LASU are pending, with the call that “they must not be swept under the carpet.”
The case against Akindele was lodged by Miss Monica Osetobe Osagie, a postgraduate student on the regular Master of Business Administration of the university, whose iron-cast evidence was based on a voice-call recording conversation between her and the professor, which went viral on the social media.
Osagie alleged that the lecturer demanded to have sex with her five times before awarding her additional marks, to jerk up her low score in his course. And upon investigation by a committee set up by the university, a prima facie case of “inappropriate relationship with the female student” was established against Akindele, a Reverend, who should epitomize chastity, piety and virtue.
In handing down the sack of the lecturer, the management of the university, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, said the punishment was part of efforts to wash the ivory tower clean of lasciviousness.
According to Prof. Ogunbodede, “We will like to reiterate that Obafemi Awolowo University will continue to do everything legally and morally acceptable in pursuance of its avowed commitment to zero tolerance for sexual harassment, intimidation and, or coercion.”
While we commend the OAU authorities for their intervention in the report lodged by Miss Osagie against Prof. Akindele, and dispensing justice suitably, we hold that the instant cases are a tip of the iceberg, as there are more lecherous lecturers roaming the nation’s institutions of higher learning for “forced sex,” something akin to rape, and should rightly be adjudged as such.
Admitted that many female students do not face their studies squarely, and thus fall prey to sexual exploitation by lecturers. But it’s commonplace that some of these teachers deliberately award low marks to targeted students, in order to lure them to offer their body for upgraded scores.
That is why, besides the widely acknowledged falling standard of education, sex-for-marks scandal is threatening the integrity, standard and quality of degrees and certificates awarded by higher institutions, thereby giving the country a bad image. This engender suspicion of and aspersion cast on the certifications, as not representative of the actual academic ability of graduates, especially female students.
The phenomenon is a slur on the overall brilliance of the females. Given the right environment and equal opportunities, females have proven that they could match or surpass the males in any endeavour, including in academics.
Naturally, lecturers are always in the eye of the storm, but reports abound of female students, who, lacking in their studies owing to permissive activities, entice, harass and even seduce academics for marks, or pecuniary/material gains. This trend is pervasive on campuses, and needs to be checked.
Beyond the sacking or suspension of lecturers culpable of untoward sexual harassment against female students, the management of such institutions should hand them over to the law enforcers for prosecution, to serve as a deterrent.
However, in doing so, we implore that the institutions should ensure fair hearing to all parties, to avoid a miscarriage of justice, and prevent a complainant becoming the offender, as was the case of the sexual harassment allegation at the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State, in 2010.
Two female students (both sisters), and their accomplices, accused a lecturer of sexual assault, stripped and forced him to sign off a cheque of N100,000, locked him up in their apartment at the university town, and posted the scene on the Internet. The lecturer’s appointment was subsequently terminated by the university.
But eight years later (in 2018), a Magistrates’ Court declared the action of the two female students (and their accomplices) as unlawful, and convicted and sentenced them to two and one-year jail terms, respectively.
Moreover, university authorities should make their findings or reports of investigations, and the verdicts therefrom public, as a means of “name-and-shame,” and to properly situate the matter in perspective.
As part of the efforts to arrest male lecturers’ debauchery and lewdness, the universities should establish a whistleblowing mechanism among students and members of staff, whose main function is to look out and report on randy lecturers. This is a potent step to keeping them on a short leash, for the good of students, parents, school authorities, the government and the society at large.

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