More victims of sexual harassment in Nigerian universities have continued to share their ugly experiences at the hands of their lecturers.
A few days ago, there was a shocking viral video of UNILAG lecturer, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, a former sub-dean of Faculty of Art and head pastor of local Foursquare Gospel Church caught on camera allegedly demanding sex from a lady seeking admission.
Dr Igbeneghu’s advances were captured in a 13-minute video by BBC Africa, courtesy of an undercover journalist, Kiki Mordi, who disguised as a 17-year-old admission seeker.
The 13-minute documentary, which focused on the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the University of Ghana, exposed sexual harassment in public institutions (Read Here). Igbeneghu had disclosed in the video that there is a place lecturers take female students to have fun – UNILAG Staff Club. “They call the place cold room,” he said.
This recent sexual harassment may only be a tip of the iceberg as more female students from tertiary institutions across the country have narrated their ugly experiences.
Young girls who spoke with TheNation in different parts of the country explained how predatory old men working as a syndicate blackmailed and intimidated them into exchanging sex for grades.
A graduate of the Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Benin, who identified herself simply as Aisha, recalled how her project supervisor insisted that she must sit on his laps whenever she was in his office. Aisha narrated:
“Whenever I went to his office, he would ask me to sit on his laps. I did twice and he would hold me very close. My mind just told me not to resist him, as doing so would cause a lot of problems. And he would say, ‘You know I like you very much.’ I would reply, ‘Okay, I like you too.’
I really did not know what to do. But I noticed that around that time, he had a sort of crisis: his car was snatched. One night, I dreamt that the car was still somewhere in Benin, and I told him so. I said, ‘I don’t really know why I dreamt about you, but your car is still in Benin, around the side that leads to Auchi. I told him the exact point.
That was how I got a respite for some time. He stopped pressuring me. Later, I don’t know where the idea came from, but I just told him I had a child, and he was like, why didn’t I tell him? He said that where he came from, it was a taboo to sleep with women who have had children for someone else, whether married or not.
In fact, I had to acknowledge in my project work that I had a daughter named Miriam and a fiancé called Azeez. I think he even asked some of my course mates to spy on me, because I was with a friend one day and one of them, Desmond, saw me with him and asked, ‘Is it the husband we don’t know about?’ Thank God that he coded and played along. I think he (lecturer) used that to validate my story.”
When asked if the lecturer actually proposed marriage to her, she said,
“No, he didn’t really say that exactly. He wouldn’t give me attention. Instead of discussing the project, he would start saying, ‘You know I’ve been looking at you. Since 200 level, you’ve been dodging me.’”
Asked whether she would have succumbed to the lecturer if the idea of a child had not come to her, she said:
”There was another girl (female student), because he was not forthcoming with her, she transferred to another lecturer. I would have done the same.”
Aisha said that another graduate of UNIBEN claimed that a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics used to sleep with female students in his office. She added:
“He would just ask the female student to lie on his desk and after sleeping with her, she would sign somewhere, and that would guarantee her passing the course.”
Aisha also claimed that a lecturer was caught sleeping with a pregnant woman and was subsequently dismissed, because he had been under investigation for similar cases.
Another victim, Tosin (not real name), who graduated from the Faculty of Arts, University of Benin in 2013 shared her experience. She alleged that a senior academic in a particular department made several amorous advances at her and other female students. She shared:
”It appeared the lecturers operated as a syndicate preying on female students. I was a course representative. Due to constant harassment, I tried to resign from the position. Although this particular professor did not teach me in my first year, he saw me at the Faculty of Arts.
He often drove to our hostel at Ekosodin and he would park his car. He would tell me he was outside waiting. He said he was going to teach me and that we should start a relationship. He said when he would be teaching me, things would be easier.
He would talk about my body and how he wanted to touch and suck my breasts. Just before our 300 level results were pasted on the departmental notice board, the course representative of the previous class told me he scored me “E” in his course.
He said the professor wanted me to come to his office to complain, but I refused to go because I knew that he would make amorous advances at me. Behold, when the results were pasted I got an “E” .
Many lecturers make school uninteresting. I am yet to do a master’s degree because I feel it will be more of the same thing, and I do not have the resources to study abroad.”
According to Tosin,
“He saw me after the results were released, asking if I was satisfied with my grade. He said other students were challenging their grades. He kept taunting me, calling me a coward who could not fight for her right.
I refused to push. Even in my final year, he told me my result could still be influenced if I allowed him to make love to me. But I told him that I was satisfied even with a third class.
Another lecturer who taught us at 300 Level scored me an “F”. When I challenged him, he responded thus: ‘You refused to give in to my friend. If I tell you that I want to suck your breast, will you allow me?”
A former student of Ignatius Ajurur University of Education in Rivers State said only the intervention of her fiancé saved her from sexual harassment by a lecturer. She said she complained to her fiancé who then called the lecturer on the phone and warned him to keep off his soon to be wife or face the consequences of his action. According to her:
“The particular lecturer told my friend and I that if we did not come and see him, we should consider ourselves having failed his course, and this was one of the courses I was sure that I could not fail.
We went to see him just to hear what he would say was the reason for us failing the exam that had not yet been written.
We got there and he told us outright that we should go and pay for a room in a hotel and let him know when we were ready.
I was already courting my husband then, so I told him everything. We also reported to our pastor who advised that we go into prayers. But while we were praying, my husband called and warned the lecturer and advised him to begin to watch his back.
Fortunately, that was when cult activities were on the rise in my school. Since he did not know who the caller was and where he was calling from, the lecturer never mentioned that to me again and I did not fail his course. However, my friend was not so lucky; she succumbed to the man’s threat.”
A final year student of the Delta State University, Abraka, who identified herself simply as Rose, shared her own experience:
“We went to our HOD (head of department) as a group to get approval for our projects. He deliberately kept me waiting until it was just the two of us in his office.
He started touching me inappropriately, telling me he wanted to make love to me in his office. I was scared and did not know what to do. I was saved when another lecturer knocked on his door.
I fled from the office. After that incident, I never went to his office alone.”
One of the female students of the University of Uyo, in the Department of Political Science said:
“Sex-for-marks is very rampant in Uniuyo. Many lecturers do take advantage of their female students by demanding for sex before passing them. Some who do not want sex ask for money in return, and it is something that calls for concern. This has to stop and the perpetrators brought to book.
A particular student was made to fail an examination simply because she refused to yield to the sexual urge of one of the lecturers.”
Another student in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies said although she had never been a victim she had heard about it. She said:
“I have met a few persons who came out crying over this issue. They told me that sex was the demand placed by lecturers before they could pass their courses.”
A student in the Faculty of Education said:
“Sex for marks is a two-way thing. Sometimes it is the girls that give room for it, because a situation where you submit your assignment late or go to lecturer after exams means that you can do anything for marks. I have not been a victim, but I have learnt of someone it happened to and she called for help.”
A female graduate of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, said she was sexually harassed by one of her former lecturers.
The graduate (name withheld) said she first noticed the lecturer’s lustful eyes when she was in 200 Level in one of the departments in the faculty. She said the man found a way to lure her to his office where he declared his lust for her. She said:
“The first time was during a test. He told me to come to his office after the test, which I ignored. The second time was after his class in that same semester. I was outside with some people because the class was small.
He asked all of us to come and write our names in his office. He delayed me till everyone wrote theirs and he said he wanted to be my friend. I said okay. He said I should be coming to his office often and I told him I had heard him. I never went to his office because I confided in a senior colleague who told me he was not someone I could be friends with.
“From then on, I noticed he was always looking at me somehow whenever we met at the department. But I shrugged it off.
Information later reached me that my name and matriculation number were pasted on a board in his office. That was in 300 Level. So after exams, during the break, I didn’t go home because I was a union officer. I went to his office.See Also
And the first thing he told me was: ‘I knew you would come to my office when you saw your results.’ I was shocked. I asked what he meant and he said I should not worry but he was confident I would come to his office when my results were out, especially the ones he was taking us.
I knew where the discussion was heading to. He was the Head of Department (HoD) at the time. I told him to let me see my scores. According to him, I had 33 and 29 in the course he handled.
Sincerely, I didn’t know when I burst into laughter and I told him that those could never be my scores. He said really?
He was the HOD. He wielded so much power. So I started begging him instead and he asked if I was ready to do whatever it would take to score a good grade. I asked what he meant by that and he replied by touching my breasts and private part. I moved his hands away and he said it meant I was not ready.
I asked him what he wanted precisely and he said sex. I begged him to take me as his daughter, assuring him that I would not run away from him again, because he kept saying I ran away.
I also told him I would be coming to his office regularly to run errands for him. He kept laughing at me and said that was the only thing he wanted. I told him I was going to think about it.”
Confused, the alleged sex-for-marks scandal victim explained that she saw an elderly man when she went to fetch water one morning and opened up to him, seeking advice.
She said the man took her to another HoD who asked questions and also asked for evidence. She had to go back to the randy lecturer pretending that all was well. She further shared:
“The next day, I sent him a text and he replied. I then went to his office and I recorded our conversation. He insisted on having sex with me that day and told me to go and wait for him in his personal office. I went to his office to take pictures of my name pasted in his office and I left.
He then started sending me messages to come back. I told him I could not because I didn’t want people to see me.
The matter was eventually resolved, but the lecturer gave me an E grade in all the courses he taught me thereafter.”
A graduate of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu said a lecturer in the institution asked her for money and sex to help her secure admission for a Higher National Diploma (HND).
She said she offered to double the amount of money asked by the lecturer for him to drop the sex demand but he refused bluntly. She narrated:
“It was six years ago. I came back for my HND and admission was so tight that you must give something to get it. I was referred to some lecturers who were running an admission racket.
”The particular one I approached agreed to help me secure admission. He was nice to me and even took me out for drinks and snacks. I thought I had met a God-sent until he reeled out conditions.
“He demanded to sleep with me in addition to a sum of money I would pay him. This actually jolted me. I offered to give him double the amount of the money he mentioned in lieu of sex. He refused, bluntly.
“At a stage I was tempted to cave in due to pressure from my friends who introduced me to him and who got their admission through him.
“But luckily for me, the real God sent appeared from nowhere. It was just a chance meeting and I narrated what I was going through to secure admission for my HND.
“He then asked me must I do the HND there, that if I wanted he would assist me in getting admission at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko.
“I jumped at the offer without wasting time. He just picked his phone and made a phone call. “That was it. He asked me to meet a man at Oko the next day. I was there and then given the admission at Federal Polytechnic Oko without any amorous strings attached.”
The story appears different at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology. Some of the female students said sex for grades is not as rampant in the school as money for marks. One of them said:
“I don’t think it (sex for mark) exists here now. It used to be but has been brought under control. What we have here is money for marks and not sex for marks. And only a few lecturers indulge in the money for marks.”
A female student in one of the colleges of education in Osun State told The Nation that she offered herself to a lecturer to enable her have good grades.
Joyce (not real name) said she gave the lecturer a sign which he understood and wasted no time in seizing the opportunity. According to her, the lecturer also assists her with his colleagues to pass their courses.
She further revealed that apart from being her lover, she buys gifts like clothes and shoes for him to sustain their relationship.
She regretted confessing to the lecturer that she was going out with one of his students, “because he dealt with him and failed him.”