A documentary video released by BBC Africa Eye. Trending online, SexForGrades has led the University of Lagos to shut-down the ‘Cold Room’, where lecturers allegedly sexually assaulted students.
The development was announced on Monday by the Principal Assistant Registrar (Communication Unit) of the university, Taiwo Oloyede. The ‘Cold Room’ was mentioned by a lecturer of the school, Boniface Igbeneghu, in a documentary filmed discretely by the BBC. In the documentary, Igbeneghu described the room as a place where lecturers meet to “touch students’ breast” at the staff club of the university
“nothing good comes free” and the ‘cold room’ experience is the price some female students have to pay to have good grades. Meanwhile, just hours after the release of the documentary, the school’s Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Wale Babalakin, announced the suspension of Mr Igbeneghu over allegations of sexual assault disclosed in the documentary. He also noted that the university council will investigate the matter as it does not condone such behaviour.
In the same vein, Igbeneghu has been suspended by the Foursquare Church where he is a part-time pastor.
A BBC documentary, BBC Africa Eye has revealed a senior lecturer, Dr Boniface Igbeneghu, and former sub-dean in the Faculty of Art, University of Lagos, Akoka (UNILAG) made sensual advances towards an ‘assumed 17-year-old girl’ seeking admission in the prestigious university.
Dr Boniface Igbeneghu was reported in the video documentary to be the head pastor of a local Foursquare Gospel Church. The BBC journalist questioned current and past students of UNILAG for a period of nine months on the state of sexual abuse by lecturers in the school.
Boniface was picked as a prime subject following numbers of accusations levied by the students interviewed by the investigative journalists. BBC Africa Eye sent an undercover journalist to approach the lecturer claiming she is in need of admission.
The undercover journalist presented herself as being a 17-year-old secondary school graduate. 17-year-old is below the legal age of consent both in Lagos State and in the country. This means having a sexual relationship with a person of such age is classified as “child abuse” or better “child sexual abuse”. The lecturer invited her to his office for a number of tutorials. As a safety measure, the decoy has a panic button with her that alerts her colleagues in case of any danger. In the second meeting with the student, Dr Boniface assured her he would help concerning the admission.
But towards the end of the meeting, he asked about her sex life. “At what age did you start knowing men?” Clarifying his question, he asked, “At what age did you start having sex?” “Look, anything that we discuss, be assured that your mother will not hear of it. Anything that happens between me and you, nobody will hear of it.”
The lecturer in one of the recorded meetings described a section of the school’s staff club known as the “cold room” where lecturers make out with female students. “There’s an upper part of the staff club there, where lecturers when they take girls there, they go there to go and smooch them, and romance them,” During one of the recorded meeting by the BBC Africa Eye, Boniface locked the door and ordered the girl to come closer after which he wrapped his arms around her promising he won’t harm her. He released her when she took an excuse to use the toilet.
The BBC report noted the lecturer did not respond when confronted with the allegation. ‘Sex for grade’ is one of the main plagues that has infested the Nigerian tertiary institutions. A lecturer in OAU, Prof. Richard Akindele has lost his job after report of his” sex-for-mark” scandal trended on the social media. Earlier this year, there was also an alleged case reported by Vanguard in Ekiti State University (EKSU).