Not less than 28 professors and other academics were sanctioned in the last four years in Nigeria’s universities and polytechnics on account of allegations of sexual harassment with the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU topping the list.
Besides, it has also emerged that a 2018 survey by the World Bank found that 70% of female graduates from the country’s tertiary institutions experienced sexual harassment in the classroom, with classmates and lecturers being the primary offenders.
The study pointed to the fact that sexual harassment in higher education institutions continues to be persistent in Nigeria.
Although the Senate enacted a bill in 2021 mandating a 21-year sentence for disruptive lecturers, GWG.ng reports that the majority of those charged and convicted after the bill was passed were merely fired.
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, topped the list of universities with the largest number of instructors accused of sexual harassment.
The school had what after what seemed like a protracted procedure, in April 2018 suspended Professor Richard Oladele following allegations of sexual harassment brought against him by a former student.
Three instructors from the English Language, International Relations, and Accounting Departments were also fired by the institution in 2021 for sexual harassment of students.
An instructor at the distance learning center named Monday Omo-Etan was suspended by the university in February 2020 following allegations of sexual harassment of a female student who was 19 years old.
2019 saw the suspension of assistant professor Monday Igbafen at Ambrose Ali University in Ekpoma due to claims of sexual harassment of female students. At the time, Igbafen, the AAU branch chairman for ASUU, claimed that the vice chancellor of the college was attempting to frame him.
In a letter to the university from his attorneys, Osahon Irebhude & Co., the senior lecturer in the philosophy department demanded a written apology from the institution.
Two instructors at Imo State University were suspended in September 2020 after allegations of sexual misconduct with female students were made by the school’s administration.
However, the fact that Nigeria’s universities were only sacking those indicted for sexual harassment and not presenting them for prosecution is bound to raise concern among gender activists and other stakeholders.