Locally and internationally, Nigeria may have had a stereotype of not firmly dealing with corruption, but with the sudden grip of the BBC #SexforGrades expose’, which has been the talk of town in the past few days and the attendant repercussions which have followed suit for the errant lecturers, all hope is not lost that we are setting a foundation for a course of justice as a nation at last.
It has been unspoken knowledge in higher institutions of learning for decades now that sex solicited in exchange for grades has been used as a weapon and tool of harassment by lecturers. It is, however, also common knowledge that some students, realizing their grades are too low, sometimes seek ways out by seducing their lecturers into sleeping with them to obtain favour.
It is in the wake of all these sex and grades exchanges, albeit illegal and inappropriate, that Kiki Mordi, a presenter and investigative journalist with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ‘Africa Eye’ initiative, spearheaded a bold documentary. This documentary chronicled in video footage some of the instances of the extortionist ring which lecturers of institutions of higher learning in West Africa and Nigeria in particular, use in robbing their female students of dignity.
Since the partial and full documentary aired on Monday, October 7, both social media and other informational mouthpieces of the nation have run agog with the story as opinions swung wildly on the #SexforGrades racket.
The BBC documentary, which showed footage of lecturers demanding that they have canal knowledge of their female students – who unknown to them were actually undercover agents and investigators – had them on videotape breaking university regulations policy as regards relationships with students. Denying such utterances while the camera footage remained intact is virtually impossible to defend in a law court.
Notable is the fact that some of the affected institutions, particularly University of Ghana and University of Lagos (Unilag), have made public statements rebuking the sex-for-grades racket which has been a canker-worm in tertiary institutions for years. Also, according to reports, Unilag has suspended two of the lecturers, Dr. Boniface and Dr. Oladipupo, alleged to have been involved in the solicitation of sex for grades from students of the university. Even more so, the Foursquare Gospel Church, of which Dr. Boniface is a pastor, has also suspended Boniface from church duties.
While the two lecturers have been caught red-handed, there is no doubt that it will at least serve as a deterrent, to other errant university staff who are fond of harassing female students in exchange for favours with grades or not. This new campaign against #SexForGrade, brought to limelight by the investigators and broadcasted with the aid of the people’s collective voice, must have also sounded a note of warning to female students who are keen on exploiting the opportunity of seduction and arm-twisting their tutors – that lecturers too can report such errant students for harassment.
This rebirth of ensuring that laws, policies and regulations within campuses meant to protect fair co-existence and justice within communities of higher learning are a big step in the right direction by the people. This is evidence that Nigerians can at least fight effectively too, where they feel the plight of the vulnerable, minorities, and the powerless are upheld in any community within the nation.
Featured Image Source: BBC