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39 lecturers indicted for sexual harassment in five years – Report

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No fewer than 39 lecturers in the nation’s tertiary institutions have been indicted and dismissed over sexual misconduct in the past five years, analysis of media reports by Theheute has revealed.

Sexual harassment has been recurring in Nigerian higher educational institutions with a survey conducted in 2018 by the World Bank Group’s Women revealing that 70 per cent of female graduates from tertiary institutions in the country were sexually harassed in school, with the main perpetrators being classmates and lecturers.

Although the Senate had in 2021 passed a bill stipulating 21 years imprisonment for randy lecturers, Theheute reports that most of the lecturers indicted and found guilty after the bill was passed were simply sacked.

In April 2018, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, announced the indefinite suspension of a professor of Accounting, Richard Oladele, over sexual harassment.

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In 2021, the university also dismissed three lecturers from the Departments of English Language, International Relations and Accounting over sexual harassment.

In February 2020, the institution also announced the suspension of a lecturer at the Centre for Distance Learning, Monday Omo-Etan, for sexually molesting a 19-year-old female student.

In 2019, Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, announced the suspension of an associate professor, Monday Igbafen, over allegations bordering on sexual harassment of female students.

Igbafen, who was the chairman of the AAU branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the time, had accused the vice-chancellor of the institution of trying to frame him.

The senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the university, in a letter written to the school by his lawyers, Osahon Irebhude & Co, demanded a written apology from the school.

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In September 2020, the management of the Imo State University announced the suspension of two lecturers, who were alleged to have been involved in sexual misconduct with female students.

In February 2021, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, announced the suspension of a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Tourism, Dr Chigozie Odum, over allegations bordering on sexual misconduct.

The Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, similarly suspended a lecturer in the Department of Media and Theatre Arts in June 2021 for sexual misconduct.

In the same month, the management of the University of Lagos announced the dismissal of two lecturers over similar offences.

In August of that year, the University of Port Harcourt announced the dismissal of a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature for sexual misconduct.

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In October 2021, the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, also announced the dismissal of two lecturers from the departments of Nutrition/Dietetics and General Studies over sexual misconduct.

A lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education was dismissed for impregnating a female student.

In December 2021, the Kwara State University, Malete, announced the dismissal of a lecturer for harassing a student in the Department of Pure and Applied Sciences.

In January 2022, the Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Rivers State, announced the dismissal of a lecturer for harassing a female student.

In April 2022, OAU again launched a probe into allegations of sexual harassment against a professor in the Department of Linguistics and African Studies. So far, two professors have been affected in the institution.

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In June 2022, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof Abdul-Raheed Na’allah, announced the dismissal of two lecturers for sexual misconduct. Both of them are professors.

Earlier in 2023, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission arraigned Dr. Balogun Olaniran of the Tai Solarin University of Education, who was said to have allegedly demanded sexual gratification from a female student to alter her results in 2021.

In March 2023, a lecturer at the Kogi State Polytechnic, Abutu Thompson, was dismissed on account of sexual harassment and victimisation of a female student in the Department of Computer Science.

In May, the management of the Ambrose Alli University in Edo State reportedly dismissed an unnamed lecturer over allegations bordering sexual harassment.

Reports noted that the lecturer was dismissed on the recommendations of the institution’s Staff Disciplinary Committee, which found him guilty of the offence.

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According to AAU’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Asomwan Adagbonyin, the dismissed lecturer had claimed to only make advances, yet he went to the girl’s church to plead for forgiveness.

In July 2023, the VC of UNIABUJA, Na’allah, said two lecturers were dismissed following allegations of sexual harassment.

In August, the management of the University of Calabar suspended the embattled Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof. Cyril Ndifon, over allegations of sexual harassment. Ndifon is currently being held by security operatives.

On September 7, 2023, the University of Lagos suspended a lecturer, Kadri Babalola, who was accused of raping a 21-year-old student.

Similarly, in October 2023, the Federal College of Forestry, Plateau state announced the suspension of four lecturers over allegations bordering sexual harassment of female students.

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Speaking with our correspondents on the matter, the Director of Programmes, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, urged President Bola Tinubu to sign the sexual harassment bill into law.

Oluwatoyin said, “The President signing the bill will be a game-changer. We need to make schools safe for our students. The most unfortunate part of the issue is that some of these students even when harassed are scared to come out in the open for fear of victimisation and other issues.”

Former Programme Manager, Gender Justice at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, Nafisa Atiku-Adejuwon, urged institutions to prevent survivors from being further victimised into silence and provide safe anonymous pathways for them to report such incidents.

Atiku-Adejuwon also called for the building of a system of trust between university management and the student population.

“The response system has to be survivour-centred and holistic; mental and physical health concerns must be taken seriously. The response system shouldn’t be created to make the university look good; it should be to take care of the survivors,” she added.

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Crime

NURTW member, two others jailed for drug trafficking

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A 45-year-old driver and member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Tapha Mustapha, and two others, were on Thursday convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for trafficking hard drugs.

Other convicts sentenced alongside the NURTW member are Andrew Ukelere and Anthony Chiemerem.

The three convicts were earlier arraigned before the court by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, on April 27, 2024, on charges bordering on conspiracy, trafficking in 13.9 kilograms of tramadol and 590 litres of Pentazocine, a psychotropic drug similar to cocaine.

During their arraignment, the prosecutor, Mariam I. Erondu, who was represented by Julian Negedu, told the court that the convicts were arrested with the drugs on March 19, 2024, on the Long Bridge area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos State.

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According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Sections 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N 30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and are punishable under the same Act.

The trio, however, pleaded guilty to the charges.

Following their guilty plea, Justice Kehinde Ogundare, adjourned the matter to Thursday for a review of facts and sentence, and then ordered that they be remanded at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre.

At the resumed hearing of the matter for review of facts, the prosecutor called Mr Benjamin Naetah, a Senior Exhibits Keeper with the agency, who tendered the drugs and other exhibits, which were admitted by the court.

Upon the conclusion of the review of facts, the prosecutor urged the court to convict and sentence the trio in accordance with the sections of the NDLEA Act that they were charged with.

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But the convicts’ lawyers, Lilian Omotunde and Ore-Ofe Ogunleye, in their plea for mercy, urged the court to award a non-custodian sentence on their clients, being first-time convicts and for not wasting the time of the court.

Omotunde, who is the counsel for the first and second convicts, said: “The first convict is a first-time offender; he is a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. He was contracted by the roadside to deliver a good after Lagos State, but he was caught up by the law.

“The second convict is a 35-year-old medicine store attendant, who was sent on an errand by his master.

“I urge the court to award a non-custodian sentence,” she said.

Also, counsel for the third convict, Ogunleye, urged the court to award a non-custodian sentence to her client.

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She particularly cited Section 426(2) paragraphs a, b, d and e of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Responding to the counsel’s submissions, the prosecutor, Erondu, who also cited Section 311 of ACJA, urged the court to consider the commercial quantity of the prohibited drug seized from the convicts and the damage it would have done to the country.

In his judgment, Justice Ogundare sentenced the first and second convicts to two years imprisonment, while the third convict was sentenced to a year imprisonment.

The judge however ordered both the first and second convicts to pay the sum of N500,000 each, and the third convict to pay the sum of N100,000, in lieu of the jail term.

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Crime

NAFDAC arrests five for allegedly selling fake cosmetics in Abuja

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday in Abuja arrested five persons for selling counterfeit cosmetics.

Theheute reports that the arrest was made at the Garki and Wuse axis, during an enforcement to curb the sales of substandard goods.

Speaking with newsmen after the enforcement, Mr Embugushiki-Musa Godiya, NAFDAC Head of Investigation and Enforcement, Federal Taskforce, said that the arrested persons would be investigated.

Godiya said that NAFDAC would work to ensure that fake cosmetics and other counterfeit products were completely wiped out of the country.

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He said that the agency had been investigating some of these counterfeit cosmetics, following intelligence reports. He added that some of these products were illegally imported into the country, in spite of security at the border.

“NAFDAC is present in all the ports of entry of the country, but with the nature of our borders, these smugglers will always find a way to beat the system that the government has put in place.

“That is why if they escape from the port or borders, we go to the market and to all the places, gather intelligence reports, go after them and confiscate these products for possible prosecution,” Godiya said.

He said that the market value of the seized cosmetics was N35 million, adding that NAFDAC would continue investigation into the issue, to unravel the level of involvement of the suspects.

Godiya said that after investigation, the management of the agency may prosecute those suspects for the crime committed.

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He called on Nigerians to collaborate with NAFDAC to fight counterfeit products in the country.

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Crime

NDLEA busts 80 suspects, seizes 3,000kg of drugs in FCT

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested over 80 suspected drug dealers with over 3,000kg of drugs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between January and March.

Mr Kabir Tsukuwa, Commander of Narcotics (CN), NDLEA, FCT Command, said this in an interview with the press

Tsakuwa said that over 50 suspects had been prosecuted adding that out of the number, 12 had been convicted and sentenced to different jail terms.

He said that the command had been going after the drug peddlers and the records were there to show from the arrest and seizure over the years.

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”If not for the continuous effort of the agency and the command in particular, the drug situation in FCT and even the entire country would have been worst,” he said.

The NDLEA commander said that the current situation of drug abuse in the FCT was not a peculiar one as it was same world over.

Tsakuwa said that drug abuse was a major concern to all countries of the world.

He said that all regional and global bodies like ECOWAS, EU and UNODC were advocating for global concerted efforts to deal with the challenge of drug trafficking and abuse.

He said: “the drug situation varies from countries to countries, states to states and even localities.

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According to him, the command has maintained consistent raids of drug joints within the FCT, even though, that cannot be said to have been dismantled completely but it is a continuous process.

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“There is no society that is crime free, not even the developed world.

“In 2023 alone, we arrested over 500 suspects with over 7,000kg of assorted drug seizure and conviction of over 200 offenders.

Tsakuwa said that the issue of drug abuse was serious, adding that Nigerians must join in the continuous fight against the drug menace.

He emphasised that there was a strong nexus between drug abuse and other criminalities like kidnapping, insurgency, theft, armed robbery among others.

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“When drug abuse and trafficking is dealt with, the rise in other criminalities will certainly drop.

“Although, we have had cases where we carry out operations of drug joints, but the next minute, they are back again.

“Be that as it may, we shall continue to give in our best to ensure sustainable action in our efforts.

“We shall not rest until we achieve our desired goal of drug free environment in the Federal Capital, “he said.

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