I was indeed appalled by the trending audio clip of a professor in a university somewhere in the South West of Nigeria who was recorded negotiating sex with a female student.

This eminent person, a professor, could be heard loudly and shamelessly demanding sex from a student in exchange for grades. He incredibly insisted on 5 rounds as his fee for the mark increase and could be heard reeling out the timetable for the rounds, to the utter astonishment of the young lady in question.

To some this would come as a shock, but to many Nigerians, sexual harassment of students by lecturers is now a norm. It is considered so normal that some teaching staff regards sex with students as one of the fringe benefits of their status as teachers!

It has become so bad and commonplace, that students no longer bother reporting because the university seems to have developed a code of silence that protects the cult of predators that haunt the universities. I have been part of the university system both as a student, as a teacher/researcher and as a member of a University Governing Council, and I can tell you that sex predation in the school system is a cancer and a cankerworm. It should be addressed as an epidemic and quickly too before more damage is done.

And when I say university, I refer indeed to the entire tertiary level of education in Nigeria.

I can recount many situations I have encountered directly wherein lecturers shamelessly insist on sex-for-grades! Indeed, in the many instances that I intervened in as a hostel owner, the teaching staff didn’t bother to even deny the allegations. They merely differed to me as a mark of respect and even then, I had to buy some of them off or they would have even further harassed the poor students for daring to report!

One even told me to ask the girl if he was not good enough to sleep with or whether the girl’s boyfriend was more handsome or more attractive. Some of these lecturers did not comprehend the concept of rape or the damage their behaviour was doing to the psyche of the young students and to the reputation of Nigerian education.

Many girls have had to write carry-overs and many have had to do extra years simply because they refused a lecturer’s sexual advances!

Unfortunately for the students, the system is so rigged against them that they know the consequences of lack of cooperation! And they don’t bother to complain to the authorities because they know that students who report tend to get victimised. The victimization of such bold

students is more norm than accident. The lecturers simply cover each other’s back. It’s like reporting a bribe demanding Constable to his superior. Just a bloody waste of time!

I recall one instance that I had to settle in my own premises. A lecturer had insisted on being entertained with food and drinks, a request the young girl obliged. She bought wine, made some good quality soup and at the appointed time, the lecturer showed up in her room. He ate sumptuously, drank the wine and said he needed to rest a while on the girl’s bed. Poor little girl obliged him and stepped outdoor to let the man rest. Rather than sleep, the man insisted that the girl should come in and change the sheets for him. When she entered, he locked the door and insisted on sex. The poor girl started crying and my attention was called by the hall warden since I was fortunately in the vicinity at the time.

The said lecturer, a man in his fifties was doing his damndest to have sex with a girl who was barely twenty. A girl young enough to be

his grand daughter. To crown it all, the girl, a first year student was rather the brainy quiet type. She was indeed traumatised by the

event. When she left for holidays, she did not return to school. Her parents, after hearing her story, sent her abroad. Now, how many other parents can afford to do so?

Beyond even the matter of sex, is the matter of cash-for-grades.

Perhaps, this is even more endemic. Any student will tell you that they submit assignments with money. I mean this is the norm. Either the lecturer claims the money is for handout, or photocopying or typing, but the fact is that assignments are usually submitted with a fee.

Then there is the amount fixed for specific grades! The fee paid to a lecturer depends on the grade the student wishes to get. The more you settle, the higher your grade!

When I was class chef of an MBA class very many years ago, I had a falling out with a professor who was upset that I had failed to make a collection on his behalf after he had announced his need for tyres during lectures. In fact, he accused me of haughtiness when I told him

that I didn’t consider lecturer’s welfare as part of my duties as class chef!

He went on to miss scheduled lectures severally in his bid to arm-twist the entire class into taking up collections for his car!

When contacted, his excuse for not coming was that he had no means of coming to teach. Imagine!

Lecturers have been known to demand clothes from students; they have been known to demand freezers, flat screen TVs and even funeral and burial contributions from students. And they insist on getting a list of those who failed to pay up. Those who refuse to pay invariably fail exams, no matter how good and how well they answer questions in examinations.

This recent and well publicised incident should be a wake up call to the universities and the supervising agencies to immediately swing into action before these randy men completely destroy the sanctify and the reputation of Nigerian universities and Nigerian education.

Things in that sector are already too bad and these randy men should be restrained and kept away from these mothers of tomorrow.

– Aluta Continua