By Eric Elezuo
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) investigative journalist who is also a radio presenter at Nigeria’s Women Radio 91.7 has said that the #SexForGrades investigation was carried out with utmost professionalism and none of the lecturers involved was entrapped.
Fielding questions from a foreign correspondent, Mordi stressed that the lecturers caught in the act were not entrapped, but that the investigation was a thorough job done by seasoned professional journalists who sought clarifications at every point throughout the nine months period the investigation lasted.
Mordi said “this is not an entrapment. Not a distortion. As a matter of fact, as I said earlier, before we even considered secret filming, we spent nine months gathering evidence around all the people that we eventually recorded, and evidence include dozens of interviews; with current students, past students and firsthand accounts of abuse. We had recordings, text messages, screenshots.”
Mordi further said all the investigative journalists that worked on this programme were professionals at every point and they sought clarity from the professors and lecturers.
“When we felt like we heard something inappropriate, we seek clarity, and of course, we definitely adhered to BBC editorial policy at all times. No, this was not entrapment,” she said.
Mordi spearheaded the uncovering of high profile sex escapes in two major universities in West Africa; University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, and University of Ghana, Legon. She has hinted that her life has come under threat since the documentary was released, brought to the fore the hows and wheres lecturers have been taking advantage of hapless and helpless female undergraduates in most universities. Notable among those exposed in the investigation are Prof. Boniface Igbenaghu of the Department of European Languages, Faculty of Arts and Dr Samuel Oladipo, of the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences. Both men have since been suspended by the university authorities.
On her part, Toun Okewale Sonaiya the CEO of Women Radio 91.7 where Mordi heads the presentation unit said she is not surprised with the outcome of the investigation because sexual abuse is rife in Nigerian institutions.
Speaking on the involvement of Women Radio 91.7, Okewale Sonaiya said the station is “proud to be involved in this one year extensive sequences of undercover filming on the devastating impact of sexual harassment on the lives of young women and we hope this will result in positive outcomes for women in our universities.
Quoting extant laws, Okewale Sonaiya noted that Lagos Criminal law of 2011 (as amended) is very clear on sexual offences and harassment as it relates to lecturer/student and employee/employer relationships. Penalty for sexual offence and harassment is three years imprisonment. Where there’s penetration, sexual intercourse or rape, penalty is life imprisonment.
“So the law is there and we hope prosecution will kick in and justice will prevail,” she said.
Okewale Sonaiya commended Kiki and the entire BBC Africa Eye team for their level of professionalism during the cause of the undercover investigation.
Women Radio 91.7 is Nigeria’s only Radio station dedicated to Women.
By Eric Elezuo