Just recently, news leaked on the internet (complete with a five minute audio recording) of a professor from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Mr. Richard Akindele pressuring a female student to exchange sexual favours for better grades

kenneth Obi for CRJ

Its been nearly 15 years since a Nigerian musician by name Eedris Abdulkareem released a song titled ‘Mr. Lecturer’. The song was controversial for its time, telling for the first time, the stories of young Nigerian female students enduring sexual harassment from lecturers, professors and adhoc university staff.

It was even more revolutionary because the singer instead of hogging the spotlight, told this story purely from the perspective of the student, giving voice to a previously unheard demographic. The song did what it was supposed to, it stirred up important conversations around the politics of transactional sex in universities and how sexual favours instead of merit seemed to be currency in which university academic staff traded grades.

Just recently, news leaked on the internet (complete with a five minute audio recording) of a professor from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Mr. Richard Akindele pressuring a female student to exchange sexual favours for better grades. 

The audio is pretty damning itself, and Richard Akindele admitted that the student in the audio recording was not the only one who he had pressured for sex. He mentioned his wife and admitted to have regular sex with her, even as he actively sought to cheat on her with an unwilling student. It would have been hilarious if it wasn’t so disheartening.

Mr. Richard Akindele might have been exposed to his school’s authority in an unconventional way, but he is not the first lecturer to be exposed for sexual impropriety. Part of the reason for the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assaults in Nigerian universities, is that there is a near total neglect of the issue and lack of will to even discuss it. In many cases, lecturers and other employees who were indicted were merely told to go and sin no more. 

Apart from few cases involving well-connected students, hardly do Nigerian universities fire lecturers for sexually harassing female students.

It is really pitiful when you interview some students, and they tell you that they have either been sexually harassed or know another student who had been harassed by a lecturer or other university staff.
Many of them confess that they were neither aware of where to go nor whom to approach when lecturers or male students harassed them. They expressed a lack of faith in the ability or willingness of their university management to provide justice in cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Almost all the students who claimed to have been sexually harassed said they feared being victimised if they reported.

Sexual harassment of our female students must stop! NOW IS THE TIME for government to do something about stopping this behavior. I recommend tough sanctions to be given to academic institutions and organizations that keep sexual offenders as staff. More so, universities, including privately owned institutions, should as a matter of urgency consolidate the calls by campaigners and human right groups like the Citizens for Righteousness and Social Justice (CRJ) to implement sexual harassment policies as a means of tackling the problem. Such I believe, is a step in the right direction.

If the authorities of Nigerian universities, including private owned universities and polytechnics can say like the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Chris Ezike, that one of his accomplishments is the weeding out of bad police officers and telling his command that he does not need any returns while in office. In this case of sexual offenders or sexual gratifications from students to lectures, if we have lectures, provost, Deans, Vice Chancellor and HOD like Imo State Police Commissioner then our students will study hard and our universities would be sanitized.

Much praise to the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Chris Ezike, as more of his kind in Leadership is needed for a better Nigeria and I recommend that he be the next IGP. Citizens for Righteousness and Social Justice is the Best way to Go. Fighting Injustices in a Violent and Immoral Society
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