London, October 08, 2019 (CABNC): Academic institutions in West Africa have increasingly been facing allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven. After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. Female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras.
The film, which has sparked widespread social media debate, explored alleged sexual harassment by members of staff at two top West African universities. The report also saw students, some with their identities hidden, making allegations about their own experiences with professors. Reporter Kiki Mordi, who knows first-hand how devastating sexual harassment can be, reveals what happens behind closed doors at some of the region’s most prestigious universities.
The University of Lagos has suspended a lecturer who was caught on film propositioning and sexually harassing an undercover BBC reporter.
Boniface Igbeneghu, also a pastor, has been condemned by his church. He was one of several academics secretly filmed as part of a year-long investigation by BBC Africa Eye.
Dr Igbeneghu has made no comment.
The academic was filmed putting inappropriate questions and requests toward a BBC journalist, who was posing as a prospective student aged 17.
On a final meeting between the pair, the lecturer was filmed physically harassing her and asking to kiss her inside of his locked office. He also appeared to threaten to tell her mother if he was “disobedient” towards him.
A number of other students in the film also made allegations of abuse against the lecturer. One former student of Dr Igbeneghu, whose identity was protected, claimed the experience has led her to attempt suicide several times.
The University of Lagos, in response, held an emergency meeting on Monday where Dr Igbeneghu was immediately suspended and barred from campus.
In a statement, the university said it was “highly embarrassed” by the allegations and pledged to do “all that is necessary” to investigate and combat the “menace” of harassment at the institution.
It also said it had closed down a staff function room known as the “cold room” which was identified in the film as a secretive site where students were allegedly taken.
The Foursquare Church, where Dr Igbeneghu is a pastor, have also distanced themselves from him in a statement. They said the church does not condone “heinous and unscriptural” acts from ministers and asked him to step down.
The full hour-long documentary also featured interactions with two lecturers at the University of Ghana.
Both of the men, Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor, have denied they were offering “sex for grades” in the undercover exchanges.
Prof Gyampo has also suggested to local media that he plans to take legal action against the BBC.
The University of Ghana says it will investigate those named in the report and also categorically denied protecting any staff or students who have engaged in sexual harassment.
Journalist Kiki Mordi, who led the documentary, opened up about her own experience of university harassment which led her to drop out and abandon career ambitions to work in medicine.
The BBC expose has provoked a large response on social media in the two countries.
Many Twitter users condemned the actions on film and called for a swift response, while others shared their own alleged experiences.
I pity u all..so all these don’t exist in the UK? Why don’t they try this in Russia or China? Using the African to destroy Africa !! U ppl must be wise and not betray the spirit of PanAfricanism !
So we should leave the lecturers to fool abi?
BBC is always want to damage the image of Africa to the world but at this time disgrace itself. “Sex for Grade” different from the video.
The Tertiary Education System is so Complicated that a mere BBC Documentary can never fix it.
Where do we begin from? Currently MSc and PhDs are openly for sale to those who can play the game.