Following the release of BBC’s African Eye “Sex for Grades” video, a lot of people have expressed outrage and condemned the act of these lecturers. These ugly acts are being carried out in several universities across the country and it has gone on, unchecked for decades. It is a good thing that the release of the “Sex for Grades” documentary has opened up conversations on sexual harassment in our tertiary institutions.
For a lot of us who passed through Nigerian public schools, we are familiar with lecturers who play gods over students. These lecturers go about threatening to fail students if they do not grease their palms in whatever legal tender the lecturer desires, sex inclusive; this is appalling to say the least.
The “Sex for Grades” scheme has survived this long because our Universities do not melt out sufficient punishment for culpable staffs; this has helped in encouraging these lecturers to continue in this ugly act.
The University of Lagos has suspended the lecturer caught on the BBC tape, Mr Boniface Igbeneghu. While this is a step in the right direction, our institutions need to do better to curb the activities of promiscuous lecturers before they get a chance to cause ruin in student life. We can start by carrying out proper orientation of students on how to handle sexual harassment cases and who to report to when they happen. Our institutions should also not victimize students who report culpable lecturers as a lot of reports have alleged; Proper investigation should be launched and the airing party properly punished.
Mr Boniface Igbeneghu who was also a pastor of the Four Square Gospel Church has also been suspended from his position by the church. The Church also condemned his acts as it was not a representation of what the church preached.
The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari also condemned the act. She said the government should take urgent moves in curbing sexual harassment in our higher institutions. We have to do beyond talking and social media outrage; the government has to put out more stringent laws on sexual harassment.
Harassment in our public institutions is a big dent on our values as a people and it is time our government puts a foot down and does the necessary to curb the menace. The government should consider creating a sexual offenders register, blacklisting lecturers who have been found wanting, and having them possibly serve jail time. It is important that people know that there are consequences for the crimes they commit, and when they commit those crimes, the law will always take its full course.