The Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, resolved to probe a sex-for-mark case at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The institution was recently enmeshed in a scandal after a leaked phone recording exposed a lecturer seeking sex from a female student to pass her in an examination.
In the released audio, the lecturer, Prof. Richard Akindele, allegedly requested five days of sex from Monica Osagie, a masters student of the institution.
Even though OAU has investigated the case and placed the professor on indefinite suspension, the Senate said more needed to be done to stem the trend.
Presenting a motion on Wednesday, Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti-PDP) harped on the need to investigate the case and growing culture of sexual harassment in Nigerian institutions.
Mrs. Olujimi said an investigation by the lawmakers would ensure that the issue is not swept under the carpet like others.
She expressed worry that the case is just one out of many sexual harassment bedeviling Nigerian higher institutions.
“The Senate is further worried that this is just one out of the many cases that have come to limelight within the past decade and it shows that the perversion is spreading across the country, with both the male and female genders as victims, especially in view of the poor prosecution and conviction numbers being turned out.”
She said, “The Senate further notes that on a nearly daily basis our newspapers are awash with reports of rape and other sexual violence; and we must, as the people’s parliament, bring them succour and safety.
“The Senate observes that these acts damage our children in very significant ways. That it also portrays our country in bad light and are alien to both our cultural and religious orientation as a people.”
The Senate mandated its committees on Tertiary Institutions and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to “carry-out a full scale investigation of the case of Monica Osagie and the OAU lecturer in order to ensure that there is transparency and accountability, and that satisfactory justice is done to the victim involved and our laws are further strengthened for effectiveness.”
It also urged the House of Representatives to move quickly to concur with the Senate bill on Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prohibition) bill, which has been transmitted to the House as this will provide succour and a window of solace for victims of this kind of atrocities across the country in higher institutions of learning.
The lawmakers rejected a prayer to invite the OAU authorities to explain the steps they had taken so far, on the argument that it would be handled by the committees.