Unless you’ve been living in a rock in Ghana or Nigeria, then you have heard of #SexForGrades. Journalist and OAP Kiki Mordi had teamed with the BBC to expose of sexual coercion and exploitation that is rife in Nigerian secondary schools and universities. Her documentary led to a collective outpouring of stories naming victims in universities across Nigeria and the suspension of a number of Nigerian lecturers implicated in the scandal. Do you know who was quiet during the entire fiasco? The Nigerian Ministry of Education.
If we really need an answer for why they were so silent during this scandal, perhaps we can lay the blame at the feet of the ASUU, the country’s organization for academic professionals. ASUU and the ministry of education are in an eternal tussle over the fate and future of Nigerian universities and were in the middle of negotiations about a forestall another strike in protest of unmet demands by ASUU. A public condemnation of lecturers might have been seen as an attack and led to retaliation.
What we don’t understand however, is why the ministry of Education, through its minister Adamu Adamu, will finally address the #SexForGrades scandal, in the middle of the unveiling of a policy document against sexual harassment by the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), no less and try to bash it.
Adamu Adamu advised students during his speech to ‘stop going to lecturers unnecessarily’. He laso had sagely advice for students ‘harassing’ lecturers, citing that the forced harassment and sexual assault of students and the allegations students have levelled against academic professionals is ’embarassing’ to the ministry.
“Girls should read their books and be able to defend their certificates. They (female students) should stop going to lecturers unnecessarily and should not harass their lecturers.
These were the minister’s exact words, while he ratified a policy document that was supposed to define the rules of engagement between lecturers, administrators, and students, including visitors to the university, carefully outlining harassment and what is acceptable behaviour for lecturers. We are even ignoring the fact that lecturers and professors have to be educated about what is appropriate behaviour towards students.
If you have ever wondered why the ministry of education has been largely ineffective towards addressing the concerns of students across the country and meeting with lecturers at the point of their needs, maybe this is your answer.