.Atiku condemns Sex-for- grades act
.As. Court jails lecturer in Kano
A Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana (UG), Professor Ransford Gyampo, has vowed to drag BBC to occur over its “Sex for grades” documentary.
In the documentary, released on Monday, October 7, BBC Africa Eye beamed its searchlight on sexual harassment from Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor, a lecturer at the College of Education, University of Ghana and a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos (Lagos), Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu.
The report captured activities of senior lecturers engaging in sexual harassment which is against rules of engagements across institutions.
“You’ve also seen the video, have you seen anything called sex for grades [in the video].How can you engage in so-called sex for grade relationship with somebody who is not a student in the first place…, I didn’t see anything like that [in the video] and I have not done anything like that,” he said in the radio interview with Citi FM.
Professor told Citi FM that the video was aimed at tarnishing his image.
“Well this is a clear case of defamation in the first place and initially in my response to the BBC, I told them that I will leave the matter to God and to their conscience, I will not take them on, because I know, and when they were doing it, they made me know, I know that, they have all the resources under the sun to be able to pay for any defamatory claim, any damages I may demand. And I also know that, no amount of monetary compensation will be able to clear the damage that may have been caused, so that was the initial position that I’m not even going to bother them so long as I know that I have not done what they are claiming I have done and their own video evidence does not show that, I will just leave the matter to themselves and also to Ghanaians.
“But my lawyers insist that we must teach them a lesson, so tomorrow [Tuesday, October 8] morning, they [BBC] will see our defamatory suit against them… I think the lady was just hired and paid to come and do what she did, she said she is called Abigail Lamptey and I have every grounds to believe that it may be a pseudonym and we don’t know where to find her ever since, she went off her phone and you can’t reach her. So we will sue the BBC.
“The last time I had an encounter [with her] was the last time we were departing from the mall. When she got to the house, I called to find out if she’s gotten to the house and she said she is sorry for not getting in touch with me. She was actually in need of my support or my assistance to help her write whatever she wanted to write, so I took the position that you need me.
When he was asked whether he ever had sex with her, Prof Gyampo responded: “I can’t do that, I’ve never done that, you saw the video, I’ve not done that. I won’t ever do that; I’m a gentleman.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Igbeneghu has been suspended by the University of Lagos and Foursquare Gospel Church where he headed a local parish.
UNILAG has also closed down the notorious ‘Cold room’ where Igbeneghu revealed lecturers took girls to smooch them.
Reacting to the trend on Tuesday, former Vice President of Nigeria and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the prevalence of Sex-For-Grades in public tertiary institutions across West Africa.
Atiku was reacting to the sordid exposure in the BBC Africa Eye’s latest investigative documentary, saying such predatory attitude is unacceptable, and requires systemic strategies to put deterrence to such behaviour.
As a father and promoter of education, Atiku said the trend was psychologically abusive to young women and a direct opposite of what a sound educational system represents and so should not be allowed to thrive.
In a press statement signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe, Atiku said the overwhelming outrage, outpouring of examples and outright naming of perpetrators means that unless something is done, and expeditiously too, young people might begin to take the laws into their own hands.
He also harped on the need to focus on helping the victims to also cope with their turmoil saying “at least one person wanted to kill herself three times.”
Atiku, therefore, recommended punitive, exemplary measures and swift continuous legislation to stem this “epidemic”.
He said, “Going forward, there have to be checks and balances on the processes of communication between lecturers and students.
Away from the dormant, inactive and often unenforced university codes of conducts, we can rely on technology to assist – pre-booked online appointments that show a record of visits on a central system that can also be periodically accessed for auditing can help in raising red flags.
Atiku disclosed that the American University of Nigeria, AUN, which he founded has been able to maintain zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment by operating a strictly enforced Code of Conduct to which all lecturers, staff and students sign on to.
According to him, the Code of Conduct is explicit on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to report it adding that once a matter of sexual harassment is reported by a student, directly or anonymously, a Disciplinary Panel is set up and hearing is set and disciplinary actions against sexual harassment include Expulsion/Suspension.
The Judicial Affairs Department, a full-fledged Office which oversees students conduct, shares the Code of Conduct with students, parents, lecturers and staff at the beginning of each semester either in hard copy or soft copy.
He said because of the seriousness attached to the matter of sexual harassment (ignorance is not considered a defense), the Judicial Affairs Department conducts a “Know Your Codes” campaign every semester. They go to the students’ hostels, classrooms, library, cafeteria, playgrounds, coffee shops etc, and extend the messaging, sharing posters and pamphlets, taking questions from students.
He stated that the school also has four Student Clubs; Women Leadership Council, Ethics Club, Rotract Club and the Leadership Club with a mandate from the university to organize anti sexual harassment seminars, which are funded by the university every semester.
To this end, the swift suspension and termination of the jobs of scores of lecturers implicated in various sexual harassment misdemeanor at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria is worthy of commendation and emulation by other universities.
He, therefore, commended the BBC Africa Eye for focusing on investigative documentaries which outcome is reverberating across Nigeria and the African continent.
In a related development, a Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Kano on Tuesday ordered the remand of a 36-year-old lecturer, Ali Shehu, in prison custody for breach of trust and sexually harassing his female student.
The accused, a lecturer of Kano State School of Technology, is facing trial on a two-count charge of breach of official trust and attempt to commit an offence, contrary to Sections 95 and 98 of the Penal Code.
Chief Magistrate Muhammad Idris ordered the remand of the accused person and adjourned the matter until October 15 for sentence.
Earlier, the Prosecutor, ASP Badamasi Gawuna, had told the court that the accused committed the offence on August 19 in Kano.
He said this followed a sting operation conducted by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission.
Gawuna said on the same date at about 11am, the accused took one of his female students (name withheld) to Ummi Plaza in Kano to help him in marking the final semester exams.
“In the process, the accused admitted to touching the said victim’s private part,” the prosecutor said.
The accused pleaded guilty to the charge.
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