–Sofadondo Observes 1st Anniversary of Campaign against “Sex for Marks” –
Sofadondo, a Non Governmental Organization that is championing the campaign against “sex for marks” and “marks for sex” in academic institutions in Nigeria, has celebrated the 1st anniversary of that campaign with series of events by various chapters of the organization.
The events mainly featured sensitization campaigns on the anniversary’s theme of “#Read for Marks”.
In Cross River State, the major highlight of the anniversary celebration took place last Friday, when some Volunteers of the Organization featured as guests on “Today’s Woman”, a program of FAD 93.1 FM, Calabar, hosted by Lizzy Smart, also a Volunteer of Sofadondo.
Speaking during the program, Mrs Linda Asimole Ellah, a Volunteer, stated that reading for marks leads to self- development and professional development.
She said: “If you are aware of what reading does for you, then you would look for a book. First of all, there is a whole world hidden behind books. If you don’t explore that world, you won’t even know what you are missing. You would just remain in your blissful ignorance. Reading opens your mind to ideas, to insights, to awareness of possibilities. That’s why when you are reading, it is as if something you have just read has resonated something in you.
“Reading is very powerful. I am speaking not just words. I am a reader. My life is about reading because I have seen what it has done for me. It is changing me. It is changing my family. It is changing my life and it is changing my home also.… Just to become a better person, just to become a better parent, a better colleague, a better wife, all these things are hidden in books. But many of us do not know so we really need to make a change and improve in that area.”
However, Daniel Egana, also a Volunteer, disclosed that during his undergraduate years, he was told that “either you read to pass or you sort to pass”. He narrated the experience of a female student who failed to graduate at the appropriate time, due to reasons arising from the malady of “sex for marks” which is another form of “sort to pass”.
According to him, “I was told that as a female student you either have sex with a Lecturer or you are going nowhere. I have a case of a student who was in year 3 while I was in year 1. Up till when I graduated, the girl had not left school. When I asked her what the problem was, she said ‘I don’t know. My Lecturer, this man doesn’t want to pass me’.
“Until one day when I went to school to do my clearance, I met the girl crying. Even the project work that the girl was doing, the Lecturer didn’t want to look at the project. I joined her to see the Lecturer but the man said I should leave his office. At that time, I didn’t know of Sofadondo…. Luckily, what made that girl to graduate and qualify to go for service next month is that the Lecturer passed on last year. That’s how the girl got assigned to a different Project Supervisor and everything worked well for her.”
Similarly, Lilian Igiri, another Volunteer, disclosed that female teachers also perpetrate the menace of “Sex for Marks”.
She said: “Even female Teachers in secondary school sexually molest male students. I was in an exams hall when I was in JSS 3. There was this lady who came into class and called one of the male students. She gave him this sign and he went out. Few minutes later, he came in and told the class that the Teacher said he has to have sex with her until the whole class will pass or even submit the exam scripts. I was so surprised that even female lecturers do the same thing too.”
Consequently, Mrs Linda Asimole Ellah stated that Sofadondo exists to redress those sort of anomalies. She said: “There are a lot of things that would help to change this: Parents, school authorities, government, legislation. But first of all, Sofadondo is here to encourage people to speak out. If victims speak out, they would not be further victimized.
“We have a provisional affiliation with Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and that means that right now we can collaborate directly with the National Anti Corruption Coalition which is a branch of the ICPC.
Our activities with them can include gathering information, research studies, educational sensitization and production of information materials. But especially when cases come up, we have a legal backing that can handle the cases. Investigations are done because when cases come up, we also have to make sure that there are no false accusations.”
It would be recalled that Sofadondo was formed on April 16th 2018. It is a brainchild of Dr. Albert Obiozo, a Nigerian resident of the United States of America, in collaboration with some of his like-minded trusted friends.
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah