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OPINION

ICPC’S Big Stick On Sex-For-Marks: A Major Deterrent To Sexual Crime In Nigerian Tertiary Institutions

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Educational tertiary institutions are places where optimally matured male and female largely living together having certain attitudes and interest in common. For this reason, there are possible tendencies to the strong desire for legitimate and illegitimate sex. People know all too well that womenfolk have been the highest victims of sexual harassment and assaults in our educational tertiary institutions.

The  rate of campuses’ reported sexual crime cases is growing exponentially and thereby fast turning our tertiary institutions into sex dens; where sexual benefits are frequently demanded and accepted by students, lecturers and others. Sexual crime is a violent crime against both the victim and society. It is a manifest danger to the overall moral future of our society.

Sexual assault takes many forms including unwanted touch of private part, unwanted kiss, attempted forced sex and actual forced sex.  Most people caught for sexual crime on tertiary institutions’ campuses are just relieved from jobs and students got dismissed from tertiary institutions, without prosecution.

Demanding and accepting sexual benefits contravene sections 8 and 18 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. In this context, the section 8 of ICPC Act 2000 concerns any person who corruptly asks for, receives or obtains sexual benefit or for any other person. Also agrees or attempts to obtain sexual benefit or for any other person. In addition,  Section 18 of ICPC Act, 2000, refers to any person who offers sexual benefits to any public officer, or being a public officer solicits or accepts any sexual benefit as gratification.

Based on the provision of ICPC enabling law, the nation’s principal anti-graft agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) intervened appropriately by investigating the sex-for-marks scandal by Professor Richard Akindele, a former lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State.

The commendable step taken by ICPC in prosecuting Akindele has been very successful as Justice Maureen Onyekenu of the Federal High Court in Osogbo, handed down judgment that the randy professor was to serve six years imprisonment for demanding sexual benefits from one of his students, Monica Osagie, in order to award pass marks to her.

Thus, ICPC has been applauded and commended by many institutions, including international community. CNN and other international media relayed the news story from the arraignment to conviction stage. This is an achievement that should not be neglected or ordinarily wished away. 

I really concur with presiding Judge, Onyekenu who stated that the convict must be taught a bitter lesson of six year jail term to serve as deterrent to those who abused their authority. The positive impact of this moral lesson of convicting a “big Fish” on the university system would go a long way in reviving the place of character and integrity in our educational higher institutions. 

ICPC would continue to decisively deal with similar issues of sexual crime wherever it may happen in Nigeria, believing that the rippling effect of law enforcement would serve as deterrent that could further prevent similar related offences from happening in our tertiary institution and beyond.

Salihu Writes from ICPC Headquarters Abuja.

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