A Human Rights Organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on Imo State Government to investigate and punish two lecturers of the Imo State University allegedly involved in extortion and sex-for-grade scandal in the institution.
A statement by the advocacy group lamented that most lecturers in tertiary institutions were deliberately exploiting and extorting students against all known and laudable ethics of learning and called on Governor Hope Uzodinma to ensure decorum was returned to the institution.
The statement signed by the Executive Director of HURIWA, Comrade Emma Onwubiko said Imo State University had gained notoriety and wondered why the governor who is the visitor to the university was yet to make any comment on the issue which he said could send wrong signals to the populace.
“Globally, university system is established to provide desirable learning and working environments where students and lecturers can pursue their studies, work and scholarship without being intimidated. This system is expected to provide unique examples in eliminating inequalities and anomalies among all segments of the academia.
“Sadly, the issue related to sexual assault in Nigerian university system presents a different and ugly picture. Perhaps, the reason why the Senate, in July, 2020 passed the protracted Bill Against Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions to protect students against sexual predators, especially among educators in tertiary institutions sponsored by the Deputy Senate President; Ovie Omo-Agege.
“It is amazing and disturbing that this is happening in an environment that is often believed to be a molding and filtering ground for building virile leaders and intellectuals that will mount the stage of leadership tomorrow.
“The recent sex-for-marks scandal involving two lecturers and students of Imo State University Owerri has further highlighted not only the prevalence of the problem, but the difficulty in addressing it in Nigerian universities, which gives rise to concerns on the quality of the certificates from Nigerian school in the eyes of the International Community.
“Nigeria is ignoring sex for grades syndrome in institutions of higher education at its peril as the nation’s international standing may soon be whittled down due to the negative effect of the action of few bad eggs in the system on the entire academic integrity of others.
“The recent video that trended online, wherein Mr. Victor Obinna Njoku; a professor in the Chemistry Department, and Emmanuel Esogbuonye Agomuo; the Head of Department of the Biochemistry Department leaves more to be desired of an institution built on the foundation of excellence and knowledge.
“According to credible sources, in the case involving Prof. Agumuo, the female student who is about getting married had issues with her result after her mates had graduated and while she approached her HoD, he allegedly demanded N150 bribe, which she paid but the Professor also demanded for sex rejecting the girl’s plea that she was getting married soon.
Mr.” Njoku on his own was videoed in a very compromising position, before allegedly trying to engage in sex with a lady suspected to be a student of the institution. He was busted and arrested while still trying to make out with the lady, both naked.
“Our team is worried that the danger of this action is that it is impacting on the whole integrity of the Imo state University and the stench of this menace as earning marks through cash or sex, poses great danger for the nation’s teaching and learning in the international community and the state Governor is showing a passive interest,” they lamented.
They called on the Ministry of Women Affairs in the state to rise up to the occasion and ensure that the issue was not swept under the carpet while stiffer sanctions should be applied for such infractions.