7 months ago

BusinessDay 16 Apr 2018


12 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Monday 16 April 2018 Editorial PUBLISHER/CEO Frank Aigbogun EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Prof. Onwuchekwa Jemie EDITOR Anthony Osae-Brown DEPUTY EDITORS John Osadolor, Abuja Bill Okonedo NEWS EDITOR Patrick Atuanya EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING Kola Garuba EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OPERATIONS Fabian Akagha EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL SERVICES Oghenevwoke Ighure ADVERT MANAGER Adeola Ajewole MANAGER, SYSTEMS & CONTROL Emeka Ifeanyi HEAD OF SALES, CONFERENCES Rerhe Idonije SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Patrick Ijegbai CIRCULATION MANAGER John Okpaire GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (North) Bashir Ibrahim Hassan GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (South) Ignatius Chukwu HEAD, HUMAN RESOURCES Adeola Obisesan Sexual predators as academics in Nigeria Last week, a voice recording allegedly suggesting that a professor of Management and Accounting at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Richard Akindele, was demanding sex in return for grade rocked the social as well as mainstream media. The academic who is also a reverend gentleman, was overhead in the tape demanding five rounds or five days of sex from the hapless lady, a final year student who failed his course, to upgrade her marks to a pass. Of course, the University has come out blazing, describing the alleged act as “totally and morally reprehensible.” It also set up a high-powered committee to investigate the allegation and submit its report within one week promising to deal decisively with anyone found culpable. The reaction is expected especially since the recording is now trending on social media and the image of the school is being smeared. But we must state that sexual harassment in our universities is more widespread than the authorities would admit and they have failed to tackle the problem or lay down stringent rules to prevent its occurrence. ASUU also, that has now made the organisation of strike actions to protest government underfunding of the universities as its main goal, has turned a blind eye to the vice of sexual harassment that is destroying our universities and turning them into a caricature of what a university should be. In 2012, a pilot ICPC/NUC University System Study and Review (USSR) of corruption in the university system was undertaken and the review identified a series of infractions including admissions racketeering, misapplication and embezzlement of funds, sale of examination questions, inducement to manipulate awards of degrees, direct cheating during examinations, deliberate delays in the release of results, victimization of students by officials, lack of commitment to work by lecturers, and above all, sexual harassment and exploitation of students by lecturers. At the presentation of the report in 2012, the ICPC Chairman, Mr Ekpo Nta, was quoted as saying: “we have uncovered many corrupt practices in our universities. Sexual harassment seems to rank extremely very high among corrupt practices in our universities. Our report is based on the quantum of petitions we have received on this corrupt practice. We’re emphasizing this because sexual harassment has to do with the immediate challenge we need to address.” In fact, the rampant cases of reported cases of sexual harassment in our tertiary institution forced the Senate in 2016, to propose a bill, known as the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Bill, which prescribes a 5 year jail term for lecturers and educators convicted of sexual harassment of either their male or female students and also ban lecturer-student relationships altogether. According to the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, there was virtually no family in Nigeria that does not have someone who had been harassed or approached by a lecturer in an institution of higher learning in Nigeria. As he puts it: “Indeed there is no family in Nigeria where you don’t find a victim of sexual harassment...It is either your wife when she was younger or your daughter, your sister or even a niece who has gone through the tertiary education system at one point or the other... You will find out that they have had this brush with these lecturers who continue to see these young women as perquisite of their office as lecturers. We feel that is unacceptable. We have to put a stop to it.” At a time when progressive universities are outlawing any form of sexual or romantic relationships between students and teachers, our universities are being turned to centres of sexual harassment, rape and transactional sex. Pray, how can any meaningful knowledge be learnt and transmitted in such an environment? It is not surprising therefore that our universities are bereft of any serious academic endeavours and our so-called academics are lost in the conversations within their disciplines and have resorted to conversing among themselves in beer parlors and eateries at university staff clubs. This is a major problem in our universities and not just the underfunding because even when the universities are properly funded, we will be faced with a bigger problem – total lack of academics worth their salt but only sexual predators and lay-abouts pretending to be academics. ASUU needs to do a thorough introspection! EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Dick Kramer - Chairman Imo Itsueli Mohammed Hayatudeen Albert Alos Funke Osibodu Afolabi Oladele Dayo Lawuyi Vincent Maduka Wole Obayomi Maneesh Garg Keith Richards Opeyemi Agbaje Amina Oyagbola Bolanle Onagoruwa Fola Laoye Chuka Mordi Sim Shagaya Mezuo Nwuneli Emeka Emuwa Charles Anudu Tunji Adegbesan Eyo Ekpo ENQUIRIES NEWS ROOM 08022238495 08034009034}Lagos 08033160837 Abuja ADVERTISING 01-2799110 08116759801 08082496194 SUBSCRIPTIONS 01-2799101 07032496069 07054563299 The Brook, 6 Point Road, GRA, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. 01-2799100 LEGAL ADVISERS The Law Union MISSION STATEMENT To be a diversified provider of superior business, financial and management intelligence across platforms accessible to our customers anywhere in the world. 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Monday 16 April 2018 BUSINESS DAY 13

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