In the last four months, three sex scandals have rocked tertiary institutions in Nigeria. While sexual abuse of students by lecturers is not news, the cases are interesting because of the new trend of voicing out by the victims and the subsequent prompt investigation of the allegations by the institutions.
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, first made the headlines when in April, a leaked audio tape of Richard Akindele, a professor in the institution, demanding five sessions of sex from Monica Osagie (pictured), a post-graduate student of the department of business administration, went viral on social media.
The school management set up a probe panel and in June, Eyitope Ogunbodede, OAU vice-chancellor, announced that the governing council of the institution had approved the sack of the lecturer, “having found him guilty of all the charges against him.”
UNILAG FOLLOWS SUIT
The dust was yet to settle on Akindele’s case when Joy Nwanna, a student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), raised the alarm that Olusegun Awonusi, a professor at UNILAG, was demanding sexual favour from her.
Nwanna accused Awonusi, a lecturer in the English department of the institution, and former vice-chancellor of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ogun state, of habitually harassing female students each time they go to his office.
The student released semi-nude pictures of Awonusi in one of her “encounters” with him in his office.
“I have been suffering this for months now. Whenever students go to his office for anything he is always trying to touch you,” Nwanna had written.
“I took pictures of him on one of the days I entered his office. He has made molestation a part of him. I am even scared for my life in UNILAG. That is why I am reaching out to you so he can be stopped. I have completely given up when it comes to academics, he has failed me before. When I talked to him concerning it he told me I should know what to do that I am an adult. I feel so dirty for even allowing such an old man touch me. But he doesn’t even care.”
In a swift reaction to the allegation, probably borrowing from the OAU saga, the management of UNILAG also set up a probe committee to look into the allegations.
“Management will tackle the allegation with every sense of responsibility and seriousness that the matter deserves. The issue will be thoroughly investigated with transparency,” Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, vice-chancellor, UNILAG, said in a statement.
The panel also said its investigation revealed that the alleged victim graduated from UNILAG in 2016.
However, investigation has been stalled as Nwanna reportedly failed to show up to present her case to the probe panel.
AND NOW LASU
The Lagos State University (LASU) on Tuesday said it had issued a query to Odubunmi Sukanmi, an associate professor in the Department of Economics, over alleged sexual assault of a female student.
Adekoya Martins, the university’s spokesperson, said the management of the institution has zero tolerance for such act, adding that the case was already before a joint action disciplinary committee.
Sukanmi was allegedly caught two weeks ago sexually assaulting an unidentified female undergraduate of his department. The lecturer graduated from LASU and was reportedly honoured as the best student in mathematics for economics in 1987.
Sukanmi had reportedly invited the student to his office on a Saturday to rewrite a paper she allegedly failed. On getting to the office, the lecturer reportedly removed his shirt and started cuddling the student after giving her papers to rewrite the exam he invited her for.
Unknown to him, the student had sought the help of a non-governmental organisation to garner evidence to nail the lecturer.
Martins said the case, already before the disciplinary committee, would thereafter be forwarded to the university senate for consideration.
Meanwhile, Olayinka Amuni, the university registrar, said the sanction for such act once established would be dismissal.
“Once we are able to establish that a staff engages in an illegal relationship with any student, the person is dismissed from the system because it is the height of academic irresponsibility,” Amuni had said.
The rate at which things are going, more students are likely to open up in the days ahead.