Sofadondo Advocacy Group, an NGO campaigning against Sex for Marks in Nigeria’s education system, has called for the overhauling of Nigeria’s higher institutions to discourage the practice.
The National Coordinator of the group, Mrs Hannah Etta, who is also a lecturer in one of the Nigerian Universities, made the call on Saturday in Abuja during the group’s 2nd National Conference.
Newsmen report that the theme of the conference is “Sex for marks and marks for sex: Establishing the change mantra for national growth and development”.
Etta said that the issue was like an Elephant in the room, where everybody knew that it was happening, but no one was talking about it.
She stated that the culture of silence had beclouded most Nigerian female University students, even some victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), and called for a change in the system.
According to her, Sofadondo is an advocacy group that is out to advocate strongly against the menace of Sex for Marks, which amounts to injustice in the system.
“This injustice is a clear one in the society; why will someone go through the hurdles of writing exams into University and got admission, where you are entrusted into the care of lecturers, but these people are the ones that will turn around to terrorise you, victimise you, threaten your life.
“Other incoming students into the University will also be influenced by immoral behaviour by the already existing students; we are saying no to these immoral activities in our institutions.
“These students instead of telling their parents, or reporting to the Vice Chancellor this behaviour, they succumbed to it, Sofadondo is saying no to this new norm.
“We are saying no to this issue, any victim should call us or visit our webpage, www.sofadondo.org, send us a mail and we will step and see that the matter is handled.
“We won’t mention your name, it will be done on a unanimous basis, we will investigate the matter, we have lawyers, investigators who work with us as volunteers on pro bono. The system must be sanitised.”
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She also spoke about the face-off between the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) and the Federal Government, saying that the Union was not only fighting for its course alone but the course of the students.
Etta said that the system was so rotten to the extent that some students sat on the floor in some Universities to receive lectures.
The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, who was the speaker at the event, decried the rate of Sex for Marks in Nigerian Universities, adding that the menace was now rampant in the Nigerian institutions.
Omo-Agege who was represented at the event by Mr Patrick Okuneh, a legislative Aide to the Senate President, stated that his commitment to gender issues in bringing up effective legislation would not be distorted.
He called for renewed awareness drive to end the scourge of sexual harassment in Nigerian society.
According to him, the essence of University education is to expose students to new research and technology, encourage creative independent thoughts that could bring positive socioeconomic transformation in society, but the students are being exposed to another thing.
He called on Nigerians to come together to stop the negative menace.
Mr Viktor Ikiriko, the Executive Director, Talk Africa with Toyin Foundation, who was the guest speaker said that society had turned a blind eye and deaf ears, pretending not to be aware of the menace.
“Sex for promotion, employment, posting and others are a common feature in both public and private organisations. Sex for Marks, the crux of our gathering today is as old as education itself in Nigeria.
“The reason it is now being openly discussed is because our female students are becoming bolder, better prepared at home as previously held beliefs of stigmatisation and isolation have been thrown out of the window.
“Our children today, know that they will be treated as victims and not as solicitors. This has given them the impetus to speak up. The boldness of today’s female students is also boosted by technology.
“Students today, can very easily record conversations and even the actual act to be used as evidence should the need arise.
“Victims of sex for marks are mostly the intellectually lazy female students, indigent female students, the intellectually lazy male students and the very beautiful female students.
“These categories of students are often ready and willing prey for their predatory assailants who unabashedly feast on their young innocent bodies,” he stressed.