Pilot Law

CURRENT ISSUES: Sex-for-grade, govt  should  prosecute culprit


Isaa Manzuma is the immediate past chairman of the Nigerian Bar
Association (NBA), Ilorin branch and the governorship candidate of the
African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the last general election in
on the issue of sexual harassment by lecturers in higher institutions
for grade among other germane issues. Excerpts:

Sex-for-grade is one of the trending issues in Nigeria’s higher
institutions and University of Ilorin is not exempt, how best can this
menace be addressed?
It’s unfortunate that criminality even in the institutions of higher
learning is gaining momentum. What is happening in our schools is
‘criminality’, lecturers having sex with students. It’s unfortunate
that the beckdrock of training future leaders is engulfed in the act.
It has been a long conversation, the allegation of sex for grade, for
admission, one would have thought that by now, Nigerian government
would have taken drastic step against the menace in our schools
especially at this crucial period of much emphasis on education as
panacea for development. Government should put machineries in place to
prosecute those involved. Vice chancellors of various universities
should work on the excesses of their lecturers, management of schools
should take drastic steps to ensure sex for grade stops. There are
laws in place but a specific legislation must be put in place. A
professor lost his job in Obafemi Awolowo sometimes last year for
committing the crime. For those who claim that students ask for sex
for grade, I don’t think such is possible in a university where there
is discipline.
Cases of rape especially in Kwara State is on the increase, with
minors being victim mostly, what is the way out?
There was a time in the history of Kwara State judiciary in which
judges were specially assigned to entertain rape cases, and I’m sure
arrangement is still in place. Unfortunately, we have parents of
minors who insisted that they don’t want the matter go to the public
domain, that will not help situations, very strong measures are not
taken, then, it may persist. However, better means must be deviced to
attend to the ugly trend that is fast taking a strong root in our
Do you subscribe to the clamour that law should be amended in such a
way that whoever found guilty of rape should be given death sentence
or face castration?
The law as we are concern is still 21 years imprisonment for the
offence of rape. The major thing is the effectiveness of the criminal
justice law not the gravity of the offence. The punishment of armed
robbery for a long time is death sentence, I think government should
put mechanism in place to discourage people from the act especially
those who are found of having the illicit act with minors.
The Kwara State Governor seems to be appointing more of women into his
cabinet, this has been generating lots of debates among members of the
public, what is your take?
The governor must have a rationale for appointing females into his
cabinet. It’s quite rare in the country, perhaps, he’s the only
governor in Nigeria that has implemented the Beijing declaration of
women. I congratulate our women for having the largest share in the
state, I just pray they are able to justify governor’s confidence.
Recently, court ordered the interim forfeiture of Saraki’s property to
the Federal Government, how do you see this?
Our democracy is not free from controversy everyday. This is evident
in what is happening in Kogi, Bauchi, Kano, Nazarawa, Jigawa and
several other states. But, if the former Senate President feels he has
been unjustly treated, he can appeal it. I’m sure he will get justice.

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