Sexual harassment is one thing many agree has come to stay in Nigeria’s education sector. It cuts across all ages and it happens at all levels, from primary to tertiary institutions. There have been several cases of teachers abusing their underage students. Primary school students have reported teachers fondling them, touching their private parts and performing other acts. Same goes for secondary school students.
Tertiary institutions are the worst hit. Incidentally, sexual harassment is not a new thing in many institutions of learning. Several years ago, tales of a Reverend gentleman who lectured in the University of Ibadan who had formed the habit of sleeping with female students in exchange for marks circulated in the institution.
A few years before then, a certain Department that has roots both in the Faculties of Arts and Science was enmeshed in a scandal after a female undergraduate was reportedly caught with question papers of an examination that was yet to be written. On interrogation, the student made a startling confession that she got the “live expo” from the Head of Department, who incidentally was known to be a strict, no nonsense man.
By the time she was brought face to face with the HOD, she recanted and mentioned the Department’s Examination Coordinator as the source of the leaked questions. Another senior lecturer in the department was also indicted over the compromised examination. It was eventually discovered that the three men had slept with the student. Apart from the disciplinary measures taken against all of them, the issue went a long way to affect the friendship the trio started when they were undergraduates in that same department decades before.
One of the many cases recorded in Ambrose Alli University was the one that blew open a few years ago and found its way to the internet. A lecturer, Engr Okosun in the Faculty of Engineering had allegedly been pestering a female student, Judith for sex.
The lecturer was caught in a room that apparently belonged to the girl and she ensured that it was caught on video. The lecturer appeared with an unbuttoned shirt and his belt loosened while his zip too was undone. From the conversation in the video which was posted on youtube, the lady alleged that the lecturer failed her once so that she would come back and by then, he would have his way with her.
In a desperate bid to escape the impending embarrassment, he agreed to sign a cheque against the payment of his salary. The lecturer was compelled to take pictures with the girl with his manhood showing from his half removed pair of trousers.
The video had great effects as the Governor ordered a thorough investigation into the matter. Street Journal gathered that both the lecturer and the student ended up being sanctioned; the lecturer for harassment and improper conduct and the student for extortion.
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife too has a fair share of randy lecturers. The daughter of an internationally acknowledged musician once slapped a lecturer in a crowded area of the campus for touching her well endowed backside.
There have also been cases of lecturers in the various faculties who ask female students to bring their exam forms for signing between 6 and 8 pm. The most randy of them however is a Professor in the Social Sciences Faculty. He is well respected for his brilliance and he is reputed to be one of the best in his field. His only weakness is women. To the Prof who once aspired to be the institution’s Vice Chancellor, “anything goes”. Investigations revealed that he once had to be revived after he fainted while having sex with a cleaner in his office early in the morning. That has however has not slowed him down in any way. Most of his female students that have passed through him confirmed that refusing to “play ball” with him is the beginning of failure. “He nearly raped me when I was in OAU. He failed me till my final year. It’s a bitter experience for me and a scar in my heart. To tell the truth, I was forced to take the bitter pill after my second extra year in OAU because of Professor Mac’s course. It is a shame and I will never forgive him. I spoke to my counsellor here in Atlanta but there is nothing he can do about the case. I am very sad. Though this issue happened in 1993 but anytime I remember this case, I feel cheated”, one of his victims told Street Journal.
Incidentally, his courses are the weapons he uses in getting his prey. They are mostly pre-requisite courses in which a failure means an automatic extra year.
Street Journal’s investigations revealed that the well known Professor lives alone as his wife and children are outside the country. At a point, one of his shapely female students was cohabiting with him and by the time the well endowed girl graduated, she did so with a second class upper division in 2002/2003 session. Even after that, she got a job in a bank. No lecturer in the Department could fail her because none could claim ignorance of the girl’s affair with their oga.
The junior lecturers he mentored have all taken after him and the game has continued unabated in the department which in the 1980s was one of the prides of the institution.
The University of Lagos too has its own “Nutty Professors”. Some of them are not ashamed to say it openly in the presence of their students that they are dating some of their mates.
A pointer to the fact that it cuts across all the regions in the country lies an the testimony of a lady who told Street Journal that “I was almost a victim of my Physics teacher in Secondary school” She further disclosed that the man became a principal officer in the Kaduna State House of Assembly and is presently a member of the House of Representatives.
But while the society, especially in the area of academics continues to rot away, with manners and decency being thrown to the dogs, one question continually recurs, “when will the harassment stop?”
Though higher institutions claim that they award degrees with academics and character as the main criteria, it has been found out that things have changed from what they used to be many years ago.
While sexual harassment has become a major issue that calls for concern, findings have also revealed that female students in some instances “use what they have to get what they want”. Some no longer pay attention to academic exercises since they have known the short cut to passing exams without stress.