*SAYS SEX FOR MARKS PRACTICES ARE PERVASSIVE IN IMSU, ABSU AND MOST TERTUARY INSTITUTIONS:
A Statement By The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) Strongly Condemning Sex for Scandals in Our Tertiary Institutions With Particular Reference to The Recent Incident Involving Two Lecturers of The Imo State University, Owerri, While Wondering If The Imo State Governor Who is The Visitor to The Institution is In Approval of The Widespread Practice of Sex Marks as He Has Said Nothing on The Incident.
Globally, university system is established to provide desirable learning and working environments where students and lecturers can pursue their studies, work and scholarship without being intimidated. This system is expected to provide unique examples in eliminating inequalities and anomalies among all segments of the academia.
Sadly, the issue related to sexual assault in Nigerian university system presents a different and ugly picture. Perhaps, the reason why the Senate, in July, 2020 passed the protracted Bill Against Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions to protect students against sexual predators, especially among educators in tertiary institutions sponsored by the Deputy Senate President; Ovie Omo-Agege.
The Bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress sexual harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters concerned therewith, 2019, it was re-introduced after a BBC Documentary exposed two lecturers of the University of Lagos, and a lecturer of the University of Ghana for sexual harassment. The documentary sparked reactions from many Nigerians who described the issue as a norm in Nigerian universities.
It is amazing and disturbing that this is happening in an environment that is often believed to be a molding and filtering ground for building virile leaders and intellectuals that will mount the stage of leadership tomorrow.
The recent sex-for-marks scandal involving two lecturers and students of Imo State University Owerri has further highlighted not only the prevalence of the problem, but the difficulty in addressing it in Nigerian universities, which gives rise to concerns on the quality of the certificates from Nigerian school in the eyes of the International Community.
Nigeria is ignoring sex for grades syndrome in institutions of higher education at its peril as the nation’s international standing may soon be whittled down due to the negative effect of the action of few bad eggs in the system on the entire academic integrity of others.
The recent video that trended online, wherein Mr. Victor Obinna Njoku; a professor in the Chemistry Department, and Emmanuel Esogbuonye Agomuo; the Head of Department of the Biochemistry Department leaves more to be desired of an institution built on the foundation of excellence and knowledge.
According to credible sources, in the case involving Prof. Agumuo, the female student who is about getting married had issues with her result after her mates had graduated and while she approached her HoD, he allegedly demanded N150 bribe, which she paid but the Professor also demanded for sex rejecting the girl’s plea that she was getting married soon.
Mr Njoku on his own was videoed in a very compromising position, before allegedly trying to engage in sex with a lady suspected to be a student of the institution. He was busted and arrested while still trying to make out with the lady, both naked.
Our team is worried that the danger of this action is that it is impacting on the whole integrity of the Imo state University and the stench of this menace as earning marks through cash or sex, poses great danger for the nation’s teaching and learning in the international community and the state Governor is showing a passive interest.
Is it that the State Governor; His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma who is the visitor to the Institution is not aware that he has said nothing or he is in approval of the widespread practice of sex for marks the school IMSU is notorious for? He needs to clarify us.
Considering that some bad eggs in the Institution continue to engage in this vices owing to the recognised lapses in the academic system to punish offenders, this leaves thousands of female undergraduate and post-graduate students with the hard choice of either complying to sleep with the demanding lecturers in order to pass or refuse and fail such courses, which has misconstrued the quality of the certificates from that school.
OUR POSITION AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
That a Head of Department could use sexual gratification as the basis to award marks to students ought to have called for the attention of the State Governor so that stiffer sanctions would be melted out to serve as deterrent on randy and erring lecturers found guilty of putting the academic profession into dispute, saying this will help curb unwholesome practices in the education sector.
The adverse effect of such action is huge. Many of his likes have been awarding marks to those students that are ready to warm their beds, thereby releasing half-baked graduates into society.
Therefore, we task the governor to take more than just a passive interest in this important matter of gross human rights violations of the female that has been making students blackmailed by lecturers to bribe them with cash and flesh so as to pass out.
Equally, we call on the Imo State Ministry of Women and Justice to take up the case of investigating and prosecuting the lecturers and other lecturers not yet identified and to set up a high calibre investigative and judicial panel to look at ways and means of restoring order and sanity to the school so it is not regarded as a danger zone for decent girls.
The sexual scandal involving one Monica Osagie and Prof. Richard Akindele (then-lecturer at the Management and Accounting Department of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State in 2018 should deepen the context of the latest Imo State University sex-for-mark video
OAU did not stand behind him. He was suspended. Later, he was arraigned in court and found guilty. The lecturer was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment for asking Monica for a sexual favour. He was handed another 24 months for soliciting from her sex-for-marks.
Furthermore, while we call on the government and university authorities to do much more than they are currently doing to tackle the menace beginning with a lay down of comprehensive sexual harassment codes, we also call on students who are often powerless and victims of these predators to employ more the instrumentality of social media to expose those sexual predators and rapists masquerading as academics in our universities.
COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO NATIONAL COORDINATOR:
Miss. Zainab Yusuf:
Director; National Media Affairs.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
11th SEPTEMBER 2020