An erect penis, so the saying goes, has no conscience. In the wild, rival males of several species sometimes fight to the death for mating rights to females. Fortunately, men do not kill themselves (at least in the open though some may secretly wish spouses of more fetching partners dead so as to take possession) for such sexual privileges because there is an existing code of behaviour (code of honour if you like) when it comes to mating with the opposite sex. Even so, they sometimes lose it once the urge to mate overwhelms them thus throwing up their baser nature. Last week, female law undergraduates of University of Calabar protested over a professor’s proclivity for blowjobs, butt-palming, boob-fondling and even non-consensual sex. “Enough is enough,” they declared with placards in the first-ever recorded public demo over sexual harassment by university students in Nigeria. THEWILL considers some celebrated cases of lecturers caught pants down. Michael Jimoh reports…
Sometime in 2005, a team of sleuths from Lagos State University Ojo laid out a sting operation in a hotel room in Ketu Lagos. The target was a lecturer in the Department of English, Mr. Stanley Adebodun Oriola. The teacher had set his eyes on a 200-level student in his class, pestering her for sex. She always politely brushed off his requests. Next, he invited her to his office and tried to rape her in June of that year. He failed.
Without fail, the subject of Oriola’s amorous advances told her fiancée of her teacher’s unwarranted attention. The husband-to-be reported the matter to the school authorities. So, when the lecturer invited her to the hotel in Ketu for a tryst, she also alerted her man and the school. Briefed, Vice chancellor Professor Abisogun Leigh approved a plan for the young woman to play along. He also instructed the school’s security team to follow her to the rendezvous.
Oriola’s book-lined office at LASU main campus Ojo where he made the first attempt is 34km to the hotel in Ketu. The assumption is that far from the school premises, he might just breach the female student’s defence at last. Having failed initially, Oriola threatened to fail the student if she did not cooperate. To make his threat real, he went along with examination scripts for two courses ENG 122 and ENG 125 which the student was to rewrite right there in the hotel.
The lecturer’s game plan failed but it was a scoop for a tabloid newspaper at that time. Founded by the pair of Michael Awoyinfa and now deceased Dimgba Igwe, The Sun newspaper did not pretend to be like mainstream publications of that era. It had a peculiar nose for sensational stuff. Woven around sex-for-marks, the story not only literally fell on the tabloid’s laps, it was just the kind of lewd report they knew readers would gobble up.
Giving a blow-by-blow account of the scandal after it blew, the newspaper’s Education Correspondent Gabriel Dike delighted readers with salacious details of Oriola’s misadventure with the unnamed and unidentified female student. In a publication of July 8 2005 headlined “LASU Fires Oriola, sex-for-marks lecturer,” Dike wrote that because of the lecturer’s incessant pressure for sex, the student “cried to her fiancée who in turn reported the matter to the office of the Vice Chancellor on June 6, 2005.
“Before then, Oriola had given the girl a date at a rendezvous in Ketu…mobilised her with transport fare to go wait for him. Disturbed by the development, which also challenged the authorities on their anti-harassment crusade, the VC sent security personnel to accompany the girl to Oriola’s love nest. There, he was caught on June 7 in his underpants…Part of the exhibits recovered from him in the hotel room were two examination scripts of ENG 122 and ENG 125.”
Rather than satisfy his lust in the hotel, Oriola became a subject of public ridicule from that moment on, like a man watching himself incredulously starring in a surreal film of which he was playing an unwilling villain. In his undershorts, the mortified lecturer was brought to the main campus where, according to Dike, “Oriola had made spirited attempts to escape but was given a hot chase by the security personnel who re-arrested him. He was brought to the main campus where the VC, staff and students came to watch him.”
It was just the beginning of Oriola’s ordeal. The VC wasted no time in setting up a Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee. They found the lecturer guilty resulting in his dismissal, with the VC insisting that Oriola was dismissed “over examination malpractice.”
“It is a clear case of sexual harassment but the senate committee felt otherwise,” Leigh told Dike. “Even some of his colleagues are saying it was not sexual harassment and that it was a set up.” Leigh also pointedly noted that he “would not be deterred in implementing the senate declaration on sexual harassment and to rid the system of the rot that had been giving the institution a bad image outside.”
The bad image VC Leigh feared would sully LASU’s reputation enveloped it once again. By then Leigh had completed his tenure as VC. It was in 2018 and Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun was then the executive head of administration in the school. The obnoxious acts came via three lecturers of the institution facing the same charge as Oriola years before: Sex-for-marks for female students.
The teachers in question were two associate professors Ayoola Sunkanmi Odubunmi of the Department of Economics and Isiaka Ajani Ogunwande of the Department of Chemistry respectively. The third don was Dr. Emmanuel Orilade Gbeleyi Lecturer II at the Department of Anatomy, Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM)).
Odubunmi’s case was as humiliating as Oriola’s unmasking. The unnamed female student had reported him to the school authorities and an NGO. Instead of the privacy of a hotel room, the Economics teacher chose his office. The student was not only instructed to play along but also wired with a device connected to a laptop where some of the school’s security officials and representatives of the NGO watched “to help track the lecturer so as to have genuine evidence against him…to monitor what would happen between the lecturer and the student.”
Like Oriola, Odubunmi fell for the trap. Once the student got to his office and without much ado, Odubunmi “removed his shirt and started cuddling the student from behind after giving her papers to rewrite the exam he invited her for. He was in the act when the university security officials and the NGO representatives moved in and effected his arrest.” It was game over.
So it was for two of his colleagues Ogunwade and Gbeleyi after investigations by the school authorities. Spokesman for the institution then, Mr. Ademola Adekoya said the lecturers were dismissed “following due investigations into the allegation of sexual misconduct levelled against them as well as testimonies of their respective accusers.”
The Governing Board of LASU approved the lecturers’ sack.
Also recommended for dismissal over sexual harassment of a female student was another professor but this time in faraway Edo state in an institution named after Professor Ambrose Alli former civilian governor of Bendel state. If anything has distinguished Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma from other state or federal institutions in Nigeria from inception till date, it is the student’s predilection for cult activities with warring factions redefining the word savagery.
Where rival cults in other institutions threw punches and, at worst, cracked open some skulls with bottles, those in Ekpoma took savagery to another level. In one infamous incident, a student plunged a Mathematical Set compass into the eyeballs of another; acid bathes were frequent not to mention the direct shootings in the face of opponents. Till date, AAU has the highest number of rusticated and expelled students because of cult-related activities. No wonder it has since earned the moniker – War College.
And to that Dr. Peter Otubu contributed passages in a story aptly called a school for scandal, specifically sex-for-marks. In his own case with a certain female student Judith Ivie Okosun of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Faculty of Engineering, Otubu plainly stepped into a trap set not by the school authorities but by the very woman he was so besotted with. With the promise of a ‘good time,’ Otubu bee-lined it to the girl’s room in a female hostel outside the school premises. But his hope for some dalliance evaporated like a puff of smoke right before his eyes. What subsequently transpired between the prof, his student and some of her accomplices was nothing short of a primitive exercise in humiliation.
A clear set up, Otubu was emasculated bit by painful bit both as a teacher and as a human being. He was in the buff for most of the interrogation, blubber jiggling from his upper arms and midriff and a shriveled penis which Judith made fun of. A sorry picture of remorse, the randy professor, as Otubu came to be known in social media, saw himself like Oriola, his counterpart in LASU taking a leading role in a bizarre drama he wouldn’t have wished for his enemies. Worse still, Otubu was compelled to sign over a cheque of N100, 000 for his troubles.
It was not until eight years after that Otubu was vindicated, that the student in question had been less than saintly in her actions. The girl and her sister, Juliet Obehi Okosun were both sanctioned by a court in Ekpoma and the professor cleared of all accusations. By then it was too late because, as they say, the deed had already been done.
With cases of philandering lecturers caught out in an effort to bed their students in exchange for marks or whatever available inducements, anyone would reasonably assume that some of them would have learnt from the awful experiences of their colleagues, of becoming more circumspect with female students or never making propositions that would get them in trouble. Wrong!
“An erect penis has no conscience.” It was exactly so for another don whose libido seemed to count for more and higher than self-restraint. In early August and on their urgings, female law undergraduates of University of Calabar took to the streets in protest against the Dean of Faculty of Law Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon. What was their grouse?
The don had for long requested various acts of sexual gratification from his students using the same stratagems as his counterparts in LASU: threatening to fail the students during exams if they fail to cooperate. Some actually did – a blowjob here, a private rubdown there and even sex which some of them did not consent to. But the lecturer always asked for more and more frequently, too. Soon, the female students got tired of it all, which was why they went public.
Before this time, according to knowledgeable sources, Prof Ndifon had jumped a female student in his office in 2015. The victim is the daughter of Professor Sinem Abasi Ekong of University of Uyo who narrated how Prof. Ndifon allegedly raped her 20-year-old child in his office. In her words, Ndifon tore her daughter’s examination script and then ordered that she rewrite the same exam in his office privately. While at it, Ndifon jumped the poor student from behind, “tore her clothes and then raped her twice.”
Of course, Professor Ekong duly wrote to University of Calabar authorities. They did nothing. A civil society organisation Sacred Hearts Gender Protective Initiative followed up the protest against Ndifon last December by questioning his reinstatement and promotion to deanship.
Executive Director of SHGPI Rosemary Nwafor wrote inter alia: “On behalf of the above-named Civil Society Organization, I write to bring to your attention a hidden injustice, which your academic institution has refused to take action on…Madam Vice Chancellor, you will recall that on August 29, 2015, one Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon, (who is currently the Dean of your Law Faculty) was accused of raping, in his office, a female law student of your university. After a preliminary investigation by the University Management, the said Ndifon was indicted and suspended as staff of the university. An attempt by Ndifon to set aside his suspension by the university was dismissed by a well-delivered judgment by the National Industrial Court on the 21st of September 2016 (vide suit NICN/CAI01/2016). Apart from the foregoing, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) took over the investigation of the criminal part of the sexual harassment case against Ndifon.”
Prof Ndifon, Nwafor stated in the letter, did all he could to prevent ICPC from investigating and prosecuting him for the allegations but the case was struck out and dismissed by Justice I.E Ekwo of Federal High Court Calabar on March 2 2007. Somehow, while under investigation, Ndifon got reinstated in the university.
It is just very possible all would have been quiet on the campus front of the university in the South-south if the randy prof had controlled his apparently high libido which may now be his undoing. Where his colleagues in other institutions made attempts and got punished, Ndifon seemed to have always gotten away with his indulgences. Yes, there have been no recorded evidence – audio or video – against him so far. But a number of female students young enough to be his granddaughters holding aloft banners with these damning inscriptions “We are tired of sucking big **”, “Professor Ndifon, let the girls with big breasts breathe. Stop suffocating us,” and “Enough of law school list manipulation” is enough grounds for investigation.
With the backing of Vice Chancellor Professor Florence Obi, University of Calabar has just done that. Ndifon has also been suspended. An investigation is on. In a suspension letter dated August 17, Registrar of the school Gabriel Egbe communicated the same to the beleaguered former dean.
“The Vice-Chancellor has gone through your written representations and is not satisfied with your explanations,” Egbe wrote Ndifon. “She has therefore directed that you should be relieved of your position as Dean, Faculty of Law and placed on suspension while the matter is referred to a panel that will be set-up to investigate these allegations.”
What the panel of investigation will come up with against Ndifon is hard to say for now. But what is more than certain is that in no distant time, Nigerians will read once again about a failed assignation in a hotel room of a lecturer with his female student – especially now with the limitless possibilities of social media.