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SexforGrades: Another UNILAG Lecturer Bits the Dust

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The University of Lagos, Akoka, has suspended another lecturer, Dr Samuel Oladipo, of the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, after he was also indicted in a sexual harassment documentary produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

This is just as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; wife of the President, Aisha Buhari; and the Academic Staff Union of Universities called for the prosecution of the lecturers indicted in the documentary, while calling for the cleansing of the system.

The BBC had produced a documentary exposing four lecturers – two from UNILAG and two from the University of Ghana, Legon – for allegedly harassing undercover reporters, who posed as students in need of help.

The release of the footage had drawn outrage from many Nigerians, who demanded that justice be served.

At an emergency management meeting on Monday, UNILAG suspended one of the lecturers featured in the documentary, Dr Boniface Igbeneghu, of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Faculty of Arts.

The Principal Assistant Registrar, Communication Unit, UNILAG, Taiwo Oloyede, told PUNCH Metro on Tuesday that the second lecturer in the documentary, Oladipupo, had also been suspended.

Gbajabiamila, while reacting to the scandal in a series of tweets, lamented the damage caused by sexual assaults to young people.

He tweeted, “The revelations in the @BBCAfrica #SexForGrades documentary bring to the fore (the) despicable practices that have victimised too many young people, denied them their sense of self-worth and left them with psychological wounds that often never heal.

“These revelations call for a moment of reckoning, not only for those lecturers, whose abuse of their positions and the trust of their students have been caught on tape, but (also) those who are still hiding in the shadows.

“Our higher institutions, where this culture of abuse has been allowed to thrive, must also acknowledge their responsibility and act to put an end to these shameful practices. We owe our children that much.”

The wife of the President, who was represented by Aisha Rimi during the BBC Africa Eyeundercover documentary screening in Lagos, said sexual predators must not go unpunished.

“I assure you of the necessary assistance required of me to ensure that victims, who are sexually harassed, get justice and will be able to speak for themselves,” she said.

The wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Bisi Fayemi, said she was also a victim of sexual harassment in her university days.

She stated, “While watching the BBC Africa Eye undercover investigation, I didn’t know if I was crying or laughing. I cried for the young girls, who are going through situations like this but can’t speak out.

“I think it is time to speak out and we should also support victims of these atrocities. We need to make these sexual predators to face justice.”

The governor’s wife urged schools and states to come up with registers for all sexual offenders for record purposes.

ASUU, on its part, called for a thorough investigation and appropriate sanctions for lecturers indicted in the documentary in order to sanitise the university system.

The UNILAG ASUU Chairman, Dr Dele Ashiru, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday that the union was against all forms of unethical practices, including sexual harassment.

Ashiru stated, “The development is very disturbing and unfortunate. We have appealed to our colleagues to understand that as lecturers, we stand in loco parentis (in the place of parents) to these students and must not be perceived in any way as not protective.

“We condemn this act of shame in its entirety and want the matter to be thoroughly investigated and appropriate sanctions meted out to all those found culpable.”

Meanwhile, there was panic on Tuesday over Igbeneghu’s health condition as he was rumoured to have been rushed to hospital late on Monday.

The embattled lecturer and pastor, who was also suspended by the Foursquare Gospel Church, was alleged to have attempted suicide.

The university’s spokesperson, Oloyede, said she had yet to confirm the rumour and promised to call back but had yet to do so as of press time.

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Buhari Approves Suspension of Ex-EFCC Acting Chairman, Magu

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the boss of the country’s anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu days after he appeared at an investigative panel.

The Nigerian Government said Magu’s suspension is to “allow for unhindered inquiry” by the panel investigating allegations of corruption against the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards,” Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said in a statement on Friday.

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COVID-19: Fresh Lockdown Likely After Two Weeks – PTF

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday lamented the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases among people in government, saying it was directly impacting on governance and security in the country.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who stated this at the task force press briefing in Abuja, also said the possibility of ordering a fresh total lockdown to curtail further spread of the virus could not be ruled out.

The SGF, who advised prominent Nigerians to take COVID-19 protocols seriously, said the virus does not respect status.

Mustapha’s warning came amid rising cases of COVID-19 among state governors and other prominent Nigerians.  Recently state governors, including David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and their Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi  Akeredolu, contracted the virus.

Warning people in authority, the SGF said,  “Of recent, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation. We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians, irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitisation messaging.”

When asked if the task force would be considering a fresh lockdown in the face of what it observed as disregard for guidelines, Mustapha said events of coming weeks would determine the next line of action.

He said, “We will not speculate on what will happen in future but we will protect the lives of Nigerians.

“To achieve that, if it means to lock down again, we will not shy away from that responsibility. We will recommend to the President who will look at the report and take a decision on our recommendation. What happens in the next two three weeks will determine what we will do.”

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Cross River Finally Joins the Fray As Nigeria Records 575 New COVID-19 Cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 575 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 29,286.

Nine deaths were recorded from the virus on Monday bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the virus to 654.

There was an increase in the number of confirmed cases reported Monday compared to what was reported on Sunday (544).

The health agency in a tweet Monday night said the 575 new cases were reported in 20 states including Lagos, Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Delta, Edo, Ogun, Katsina, Bayelsa, Rivers, Borno, Plateau, Ondo, Oyo, Kwara, Osun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Abia, Cross River, Kaduna and Ekiti.

All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.

As of the time of reporting, all 36 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease.

NCDC has officially recorded the confirmed cases reported in Cross River, after days of controversies on the cases.

Lagos remains the epicentre for the disease in the country while Zamfara has not reported any new confirmed case in the past 48 days.

“Till date, 29, 286 cases have been confirmed, 11, 828 cases have been discharged and 654 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the NCDC stated.

The 575 new cases were reported from 20 states: Lagos – 123, FCT – 100, Delta – 58, Edo – 52, Ogun – 42, Katsina – 24, Bayelsa – 23, Rivers – 22, Borno – 19, Plateau – 18, Ondo – 18, Oyo – 17, Kwara – 15, Osun – 13, Enugu – 9, Nasarawa – 7, Abia – 6, Cross River – 5, Kaduna – 3 and Ekiti – 1.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria in February, NCDC said, 152,952 samples have been tested.

As of the time of reporting, there are 16,804 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, while 11,828 have recovered and have been discharged.

A breakdown of the 29,286 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 11, 367 cases, followed by FCT – 2,281, Oyo – 1,530, Edo – 1,435, Delta – 1,285, Kano – 1,268, Rivers – 1,205, Ogun – 1,047, Kaduna – 868, Katsina – 628, Borno – 574, Gombe – 520, Bauchi – 518, Ebonyi – 503, Ondo – 474, Plateau – 454, Abia – 391, Enugu – 381, Imo – 352, Jigawa – 318, Kwara – 284, Bayelsa – 268, Nasarawa – 232, Osun – 178, Sokoto – 153, Niger – 122, Akwa Ibom – 112, Adamawa – 99, Benue – 97, Kebbi – 84, Zamfara – 76, Anambra – 73, Yobe – 61, Ekiti – 45, Taraba- 22, Kogi – 5, and Cross River – 5.

While confirmed cases of the virus have continued to increase in the country, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the government is trying to boost overall COVID-19 sample collection, by preparing all public and private hospitals nationwide to become collection hospitals sites.

This, he said will require working with state governments to identify the facilities and the space within them, to conduct training for the personnel selected and supply both PPEs and sample collection kits, as well as the logistics to go around to recover test samples.

“If logistics around sample collection and delivery to test sites are better organised, a lot more will be achieved.

“However, the more we test, the more confirmed cases we shall find, of which the vulnerable will have to be prioritised for admission to treatment centres, even if they are not yet showing symptoms,” he added.

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