Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari decries rate of sexual harassment in country’s universities

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday sexual harassment had reached alarming levels at the country’s universities, with “sex for grades” also part of corrupt practices that are being investigated by authorities.

In 2019, the BBC used an undercover reporter to expose sexual harassment at two universities in Nigeria and Ghana, which sparked debate on social media about the problem of “sex for grades”.

Critics say little has changed since then, accusing the government of failing to stamp out the practice.

But Buhari told an anti-corruption summit in Abuja that the government was concerned and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission was prosecuting sexual harassment as abuse of power in educational institutions.

He did not give any statistics.

Buhari said students had come up with language to describe different forms of corruption at campuses.

“There is sorting or cash for marks/grades, sex for marks, sex for grade alterations, examination malpractice, and so on,” Buhari said.

“Sexual harassment has assumed an alarming proportion.”

Buhari said other forms of corruption at universities included lecturers writing dissertations for students for a fee, payment of salaries to non-existent workers and lecturers taking up full-time jobs in more than one academic institution.

Public university lecturers have been on strike for more than seven months demanding better pay and allowances.

Buhari said “those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit” in undermining government investment in education.

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