Thank God it’s Friday! I hope you had a splendid week?
Recently, BBC Africa Eye released a documentary titled Sex for Grade. First, I will like to commend BBC Journalist Kiki Mordi for this documentary. She did an excellent job with this undercover investigation into sexual harassment in West African universities, like the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. So far, the documentary has revealed senior lecturer and former sub-dean in the Faculty of Art at the University of Lagos, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu. As well as Dr. Samuel Oladipo, a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Lagos too. The documentary has also revealed other Professors like Ransford Gyampo, a Political science professor at the University of Ghana, and Dr. Paul Kwame Bukator, a lecturer at the College of Education in Ghana.
I felt very disgusted to see Dr. Oladipo approach Kiki Mordi at the university campus and made sexual advances towards her with the promise of helping her with her studies. He even proceeded to take her to the ‘Cold Room.’ The supposed secret place where some lecturers take advantage of their female students who fall prey to their sexual exploit. Another sad part of everything is these professors are married; they have their families or perhaps children and daughters of their own. I bet they won’t appreciate if their daughters are exploited for grades. This is not just right!
I struggled to watch this documentary. I cried a couple of times while listening to some of the victims share their stories. I cringed watching these so-called professors whose job is to help these students in their academics, take advantage of them. It is unfortunate. This is a problem, a big problem. These men are destroying the lives of innocent souls, afflicting them with pains and trauma. A lot of them are suffering in silence, keeping it all to themselves because of the stigma associated with such abuse. They have to live, and are living with this experience. They are living with the evil planted by these professors. One of the girls in the documentary expressed how she has had several suicidal thoughts and has attempted to take her life four times. Four times!!! I think these professors do not think of the consequences of their actions. Do they? I don’t think they are aware of the gravity of their actions and how much it has and will affect these victims.
Even more, the documentary also reveals that Dr. Igbeneghu is also a head-pastor at a Foursquare Gospel Church in Lagos. How sad! He is a spiritual leader or should I say he is meant to be a spiritual leader. So, is exploiting and taking advantage of these girls part of his duty? What a shame! Can you imagine how these victims feel every time they see him on the pulpit preaching the opposite of what he does in real life; preaching the righteousness that they see lacking in him?
This is certainly not a new topic; it has been in existence for a long time. So many female students have struggled through school with the same experience. Who do we blame? How did it all start? Sometimes, I want to blame the society we live in, but we make up the society; hence, people like these professors are part of our problems. The system is corrupt because of the evil minds in power. Professors exploiting students, specifically female students in exchange for grades or academic help, is part of the setbacks that have hindered the growth of our educational system in West Africa.
I am happy that these victims are speaking up. This documentary has given so many others in the same situation the courage and the voice to share their own experiences. Justice needs to be served for them, and not manipulated. Time has changed. Enough with sweeping allegations under the carpet or forcing victims to withdraw their claims. Enough with victimizing or stigmatizing them. As a nation and as nations in West Africa, we have laws that protect and fight for victims of sexual harassment and abuse. We need these laws enforced. I hope the rest get exposed to face the law. I hope they end up where they belong, which is behind bars. I pray that this is the start of a positive change in Universities in West Africa. Once again I commend BBC journalist Kiki Mordi for this great job.
Well, as usual, don’t forget to share your thoughts and opinions on today’s topic. I look forward to reading them.