Sex for marks scandal in Nigerian Academic Institutions: A call for protective laws for complaints

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In Nigerian academic institutions, there has been rising exposure of some academic staff that have been alleged to have been exchanging academic marks/grades for sex from their students. This ugly incidence is not really restricted to tertiary institutions rather, such cases have been reported to occur in the secondary schools as well. So, it has been an occurrence all across the board from time immemorial but little or nothing has been done to forestall further occurrence. The students of various academic institutions have been encouraged to always speak out against all pressures that would prevent or influence them from speaking out.

It should also be observed that these students are adults and not minors that need to be told to know why and when to speak out just as they have been advised. One thing that is likely to bother such students is what will be the consequences if he or she should speak out?! Both male and female students have been reported to have been sexually assaulted by their teachers or lecturers. That is why this paper is of great concern about the need for laws that would protect such students that are victims of such sexual oppression by their teachers and lecturers in such academic institutions. This is very important because just as it is important to encourage such student to speak out and he or she gets supports to do so, it is expected that people will also be there for such student while he or she is being traumatized by either his or her school authority or other colleagues of the said teacher or lecturer in his or her academic!

In my humble view, if the case of sex for marks or grade is clearly investigated, it will be discovered that more of such incidence is yet to be discovered, even in the secondary schools. The manner of dressing of some of those secondary school students wearing transparent dresses too should be checked as it is a signal that such sexual harassment or assault by their teachers are likely to be ongoing. It is also expected that some of these complainants are likely to be stigmatized right in their school or on campus. They might be helpless where some of those consequences for reporting their teachers or their lecturers start to play out. This is likely to discourage any further reports by others. So, the request for disclosure of such incidence is likely to be with little or no success. Even where such a student has evidence for his or her complaint against the teacher or lecturer, fear of the unknown consequences might prevent him or her from exposing such incidence. More so, he or she is likely to prioritise his or her economic background and that of his or her family and the struggle that he or she had to pass through before securing the admission and would, therefore, prefer to just leave everything to God and focus on his or her academic with such emotional scars on her heart.

Furthermore, except only very few who are confident without caring what the consequences might be, the majority of students who are victims are likely not to speak out to expose this incidence if there are no protective laws protecting them against all external forces. So, if the government cares, then, the laws must be made to protect the students and criminalize any harassment or intimidation. Also, society must care for these protective laws.

In my humble view, the State government of every State must enact laws that would protect students of every academic institution in the State (as well as the National Assembly for Federal academic institutions) against all forces, else, to encourage those students to speak out when there is no protection for them is likely to amount to a suicidal mission for those students.

Finally, it is my humble recommendation that both the National Assembly and the State House of Assembly must ensure that those complainants are well protected from any adverse consequences in the interest of justice. The public too and non-governmental associations are not left out to mount pressures on the government towards achieving these protective legislations.

Email: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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