The first time I heard about sexual harassment of female students by male lecturers in the university was while in my first year at the University Of Lagos about two decades back. We as medical students had just one year to do on the main campus at Akoka, and there was no reseat option for us; it was either a pass, on to the medical school at Idi Araba or a fail, and repeat the year at the main campus. The albatross for many of us medical students then turned out to be a physics lecturer.

To stand a fighting chance at passing at all, we had to buy a textbook, he coauthored with another physics professor, the head of department at the time, if memory serves me right. By the time the results were about to be released, the studentry was awash with news of impending disaster concerning the yet to be released results. Those who were not sure about passing started paying visits to those they thought could do and undo at the Physics Department, to see what could be done to salvage their situation before the results would be eventually released.



Soon enough, the rumour mill was awash  with names and faces of girls who were said have to given in to the sexual demands of the physics lecturer, to have their marks upgraded to the 40% pass rate. Sadly, the physics lecturer these girls were alleged to have slept with, so they can proceed to medical school, had these maculopapular rashes allover his face, and most likely other parts of his body, and even as I write this, I visualize his face. Luckily I'd no dealings with him (as it was also rumoured that guys parted with money for his favours) besides seeing him lecture in class from the back where I usually sit, without understanding anything he was teaching, confident only in my ability to understand the same lecture at extramural classes a certain TOA (from a set ahead of mine, but in the science department), organized in the evenings, not only for science students, but also engineering students, in maths and physics, that made that lecturers' classes a walkover, save for the fact that one needed a certain number for attendance, to be eligible to write the exams.



In medical school though, not much of that did we hear, though the randy anatomy lecturer was said to have scored a number of girls in my class, but it remained unclear, if it was for marks, as one of the girls failed the exam and reseat, and had to repeat the year. Anyway, my reason for writing this is because of the recently released tape of the voice of a lecturer, Professor Richard Akindele of the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU in Ile-Ife, demanding to have sex five times with one of his female students as a prerequisite to upgrading her marks from 33 to the pass rate of 40. Everyone I've come across concerning the authenticity of the tape, from former OAU students belonging to my secondary schools' alumni WhatsApp group, to friends who attended the school, especially as MBA postgraduate students, confirmed that the voice on tape is distinctly his, and I wasn't surprised that the university has now suspended him, while investigations continue. A very unusual occurrence considering that its difficult to prove such cases as this, especially without video evidence, going to show how peculiar the man's voice is that everyone who hears it, instantly agrees that it is of the man (who is also a high ranking member of clergy in his church) in question.




It is significant that the two incidents I've so far mentioned, happened in federal tertiary institutions, noted for their strictness, and for some level of credibility, concerning their certificates, when compared with state and privately owned universities, where news of this sort have long been the norm rather than the exception. A friend of mine once told me how she was able to pass a course she'd failed, while schooling at a state government owned polytechnic in southwestern Nigeria, by sending her friend and classmate, who was dating the lecturer to help appeal on her behalf, to which the lecturer agreed but only if she agreed to pay a certain amount of money. Eventually, she didn't pay, but still passed because she asked her then boyfriend, who belonged to a powerful cult in school to threaten the lecturer who went on to drop his demands.



Another student at OAU made the mistake of telling the lecturer of a course she'd been carrying from her first year, and had serially failed that she had a deadline to complete her studies, including her project, so she could relocate to the United States. Once the lecturer found that she was boxed into a corner, he made her an offer she couldn't reject. The Saturday she was to be "sacrificed" she washed herself, dressed up, and left sorrowfully to the "abattoir" to be slaughtered. When she returned to her room, after the lecturer had had her way with her twice, she was inconsolable that whole day.



When the case of the OAU lecturer came up recently, many of the females who stormed social media outlets, to air their views, stated that in some instances, the lecturers would ask female students to pay for hotel rooms where they intend to carry out their nefarious activities, including for food and drinks, and several attempts to have these lecturers face the full wrath of justice have met with stiff resistance by lecturers and school authorities, with blames going to the females students for not been studious enough, or for wearing provocative dressings, for which many of the schools in Nigeria have come up with dress codes, targeting females especially, in response.

I had earlier stated my surprise at the fact that this case involving Professor Richard Akindele of the OAU received this much attention from the authorities, when you consider that another case involving an Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma lecturer, who managed to turn the case around in his favour, despite overwhelming video evidence, by claiming he was set up by students who waylaid him, and forced him into a room with a female he hadn't known from Adam, before compelling him to sign a cheque in a bid to blackmail him, abounds amongst several of such cases with yet more compelling evidence, where the offending lecturers still get to walk free.




Many of these lecturers are able to go free of accusations of sexual misconduct because they are usually presented before their peers, who aren't exactly without their own indiscretions with female students, and would only crucify one of theirs when and only if they'd exhausted all loopholes that can be exploited to give their own a soft landing, while crippling the academic career of the female students, who may have gone to extraordinary lengths to gather the guts to bring their predators to book, besides the trauma they may have to silently bear the rest of their lives, because of their ordeal. This angle of exponentially growing cases of

sexual predation by lecturers on female students, remain one of the reasons Nigeria's education system is on a slide, and until it is recognized by stakeholders in the sector as an existential threat, and efforts to curb it systematically highlighted and executed to the latter, our educational system will not be rid of the darkness currently enveloping it. Hmmmmmmn!







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Published by m'khail madukovich