A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Minna recently sentenced a 33-year-old Islamic teacher, Abubakar Abdullahi, to seven years imprisonment for sodomising 35 of his pupils. Abdullahi, a resident of Sabon Gari, Kontagora, was charged with aberrant offence, contrary to section 284 of the penal code law. The p;olice prosecutor ASP Daniel Ikwoche told the court that one Murtala Abdullahi, a Hisbah Commander in Kontagora Local Government Area reported the matter at the ‘A’ Police Division in Kontagora on July 22 this year.
Ikwoche said the complainant alleged that the accused lured 35 of his pupils who are between the ages of 9 and 14 years into his room and sodomised them on different occasions between March and July. When the charge was read, the accused pleaded guilty and begged the court for leniency. The prosecutor thereafter prayed the court to try him summarily in line with section 157 of the Criminal Procedure Code. In her ruling, Magistrate Hauwa Yusuf sentenced Abdullahi to seven years in prison with hard labour. Yusuf, however, said the convict will have the option of paying a fine of N2 million after serving the first four years of his sentence.
The past few weeks discernably appeared to be a season of sexual abuses and harassments in parts of the country. Daily Trust reported in its Sunday August 18, 2019 edition that a Dean in one of the science-based faculties at the University of Abuja has been placed under suspension following allegations of sexual assault. The newspaper story said “the alarms went off on the university lecturer after he was caught in a sting operation at a hotel in Gwarimpa district of Abuja, where he had gone to have an affair with the female student”, Subhana-llah! The student who was reportedly pressed by the faculty dean for sexual relationship had to report the matter to the university’s security unit and the police. Daily Trust reported that the varsity don had threatened the female student that she would not pass a course he was taking unless she gave in to his sexual demands! What a trade-by-batter!
In another detailed report by the Daily Trust newspaper published on August 17, 2019, many female students of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria are reportedly “battling to overcome the trauma of sexual harassment and abuse by their lecturers”. The newspaper reported that one of those responsible for the training of young minds in character and learning forcibly had carnal knowledge of a teenage female student in his office. The incident, according to the report, took place in the Faculty of Education; a faculty most often described as ‘mother of all faculties’. Hmmm, wither ‘mother’? More worrisome in this case is the discovery, after medical examinations were conducted on the victim and the lecturer, that the suspected randy academic is both HIV and hepatitis positive. The victim is a 100-level student. The report said the case is being handled by the police in Kaduna.
The same story also carried a report on another recent case involving a lecturer in one of the departments of the Faculty of Social Sciences in ABU Zaria. The lecturer, according to findings by the newspaper, has been ‘failing’ one of his female students in a 300-level course offered by her. He reportedly told the female student that she can’t pass the course without submitting herself to him. She decided to report the matter to the university security unit and a trap was set for the lecturer by asking the female student to play along. Accommodation was booked in a hotel and the lecturer who honoured the student’s invitation was arrested while attempting to have an affair with the student.
The Daily Trust report further revealed that there are many cases of sexual harassment now under investigation in ABU Zaria, which include one in the Faculty of Agriculture where a lecturer is accused of raping a student; and two cases in the Faculty of Social Sciences, one involving a professor. Another case is that of a professor in the Faculty of Education, who was accused of sexually harassing a lady who was his student few years back.
It would be recalled that a professor was once sacked by ABU Zaria over sexual harassment but had to be reinstated following a Supreme Court ruling. The professor allegedly made sexual advances to a married female student and the lady alerted her husband. The don was tricked and arrested in a sting operation at a hotel room in Kano. But in spite of the fact that lecturers caught over sexual harassment were dismissed by university authorities, with some of them even prosecuted, this disturbing trend which is spreading like wild fire across campuses is yet to abate. It is even more upsetting that some teachers in traditional Qur’anic schools, as recounted in the first part of this piece, have also joined the trend on sexual harassment.
Teachers and lecturers who, by the devil’s design, have been found wanting after diligent investigation and prosecution over sexual misconduct constitute a misfit in any school system. They are indeed spooky jinxes. I first came across the word ‘spooky jinx’ many years ago when I was a fervent reader the James Hadley Chase novels. The word was used in Hadley Chase’ novel “Have a change of scene’ to describe one incredibly dirty and vicious character.
While we appeal to authorities in tertiary institutions to take measures that will check this odious development, we advise students to work hard and face their academic work with the seriousness it deserves. Lecturers and teachers would have very narrow window to exploit with any student, male or female, when they are genuinely hardworking and diligent. Parents are also encouraged to advise their female children and wards in tertiary institutions to promptly register their complaints of sexual harassment at their institution’s Servicom unit before such cases progress into an advanced stage.
In the case of the ugly trend in Islamiyyah schools, we suggest to parents and guardians to closely monitor their children by paying casual visits to the Islamiyyah School where their wards go for Qur’anic lessons. They should also ask questions if children return late from the Islamiyyah School. As for the licentious teachers in Islamiyyah schools, we urge them to fear Allah (SWT) who will ask them in the hereafter how they managed their Qur’anic School pupils placed in their hands as trust by their parents. May Allah guide us against becoming puppets in the hands of man’s worst enemy, Satan, amin.