“SEX–FOR-MARKS SYNDROME” IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES: IMPLICATIONS
FOR EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
Haastrup Timilehin EKUNDAYO Ph.D
Department of Educational Management, Faculty of Education
Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State Nigeria
AKINSUROJU Oluwatosin Emmanuel
Department of Educational Management and Business Studies.
Faculty of Education , Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State Nigeria
Sex in exchange for marks is a trending issue in higher institutions across the world. The
Nigerian case appears to be the worst, as some lecturers who should be role models to students
in our institutions of higher learning indulged in this act and take undue advantage of students
to have sexual relationship with them with the promise to positively influence their scores in an
examination. Students who are weak academically equally offer their bodies in exchange for
marks in our higher institutions. This situation is dangerous and harmful towards realizing the
goals of our university system in Nigeria. This paper therefore, examined and analyzed cases of
sex-for-marks syndromes in Nigerian universities. Global trending, stakeholders’ responses,
dangers pose by this menace, implications of Sex – for – Marks for Educational Administrators
as well as Strategies for achieving Sex–for–Marks – free University System in Nigeria were also
examined in this paper. The paper therefore suggested regular orientation to sensitize the
students and lecturers on the dangers of sex in exchange for marks; stiffer penalties for students
or staff (teaching and non-teaching) found guilty of sex-for-marks as well as introduction of
dressing codes for students by the university management to prevent students indecent dressing
on our campuses.
Keywords: Sex–For-Marks Syndrome, Nigerian Universities, Educational Administrators
University system plays significant roles in shaping the future of any nation. In developing
countries, higher education, and particularly university education is recognized as a key force for
modernization and development. This is because higher education is perceived as an important
form of investment in human capital development. Ajadi (2014) posits that university education
is an important form of investment in human capital through teaching, building knowledge
economy through research, knowledge development and dissemination, and use of knowledge by
interacting with the knowledge users. Universities as the highest educational institutions are
statutorily charged with the responsibility of producing high level manpower; develop and
inculcate proper values for the survival of the individual and society; develop the intellectual
capacity of individual to understand and appreciate their local and external environments; and
promote national and international understanding and interaction.
Yashau (2011) submitted that one of the aims of establishing tertiary institutions is to build high-
level manpower for national development. He stressed further that higher institution is a place
where people acquire the needed skills, such as social, mental and intellectual skills, that will
make the graduates to perform excellently on the job in the labor market which will be required
by the beneficiary to become self-reliant and resourceful member of the society. Akinsuroju,
Akinwande, and Anyanwu (2018) and Federal Government of Nigeria (2013), section 5, sub-
section (81) stated the goals of Higher Education as follows:
a. contribute to national development through high level relevant manpower training;
b. develop and inculcate proper values for the survival of the individual and society;
c. develop the intellectual capacity of individuals to understand and appreciate their
local and external environments;
d. acquire both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-
reliant and useful members of the society;
e. promote and encourage scholarship and community service;
f. forge and cement national unity; and
g. promote national and international understanding and interaction.
Section 5, sub-section (82) equally stated that the above goals will be pursue by Tertiary
institutions through: quality student intake; quality teaching and learning; research and
development; high standards in the quality of facilities, services and resources; staff welfare and
development programmes; provision of a more practical based curriculum relevant to the needs
of the labour market; generation and dissemination of knowledge, skills and competencies that
contribute to national and local economic goals which enable students to succeed in a
knowledge-based economy; a variety of flexible learning modes including full-time, part-time,
block release, day-release, and sandwich programmes; etc.
Academic staff (popularly known as lecturers) play significant roles in achieving the goals of
university education. Academic staff for many years have been regarded as the essential catalysts
for improvement in university system and student academic achievement. They are the driving
force and main resources in the development and academic growth of students as they are
sources of knowledge and agents of change. Logically, this is so because they are the facilitators
in the teaching and learning process as they interpret the subject matter and put theory into
practice during their interaction with the students. Hence, in addition to imparting knowledge,
skills and attitudes, Academic Staff are expected to help students identify and develop their
potentials. It may therefore be plausible to underscore that even though learning can take place
without a teacher, academic staff have a great influence on student academic achievement in the
university system. However, the frequent occurrence of professional misconducts among
academic staff, particularly in Nigeria universities has put to question the reputation of many
academic staff in the system. It is very rampant among academic staff making sexual advances to
students on the account that they are not performing or failed their courses. Also, some female
students deliberately use sex as a weapon for academic and economic survival in Nigerian
university system. This sex-for-marks cases has serious implications on the growth and
development of university education in Nigeria, as some of these institutions have been turned to
prostitution/commercialization sex centres.
Sex–for-Marks Syndrome: An Overview
University as a social organization does not exist in a vacuum. The existence of people in the
university system makes it a human organization. Human being forms the essential component in
the system. As people (boys, girls, men and women) exist in this organization, there is likely to
be interpersonal relationship among them and such interpersonal relationship could be positive or
negative. Unholy relationship also known as consensual relationship is not appropriate for
academics and their students within and outside the school. Sex-for-marks could be the product
of such negative interaction or consensual relationship which may have far- reaching
implications for both parties and the nation at large (Onoyase, 2019). The negative interaction
among those that made up the university system gave birth to professional misconducts including
the prevailing Sex-for-marks menace in Nigerian higher institutions.
Sex- for – marks is not a new concept in the educational system, particular in higher institutions.
It is a situation whereby teachers (lecturers inclusive) take undue advantage of students to have
sexual relationship with them with the promise to positively influence their scores in an
examination. Students also offer sex to lecturers in order to boost their scores. Sex for marks
takes two forms: one is comically referred to as STD (Sexually Transmitted Degree), here,
female students throw themselves sexually at male lecturers for better grades in their individual
courses. The sex is initiated by the female students for academic favour. The other form is the
most controversial, here, the male lecturers sexually exploits struggling female students. They
prey on female students that are struggling academically and sexually exploit them by offering
them better grades in exchange for sexual relationship with them (Ogummokun, 2019).
According to Manuh, Gariba & Budu (2007); Bakari & Leachm (2008); and Arogundade (2019),
Sex-for-marks also known as ‘transactional sex', ‘sexually transmitted grades', the quid pro quo'
is a product of sexual harassment that involved giving sexual favours to male lecturers in
exchange for marks or grades which has the tendency of creating anoxious campus climate.
Some lecturers demand for sexual favour from their students in return for grades/marks.
It is worth of noting at this junction that both female and male academic staff are found in this
act of professional misconduct in higher institutions particularly in developing countries. Cases
of female lecturers demanding for sex from male students and male lecturers asking for sexual
favour in return for marks have been recorded in both developed and developing countries. It is
generally believed that cases of Sex-for-marks are commonly found among male lecturers in
tertiary institutions. This is why Imonikhe, Aluede & Idogh, (2012) stated that incidence of Sex-
for-marks are found in Nigerian tertiary institutions, where some male lecturers strongly believed
they could perpetuate this devilish act as they wish. Also, Adedokun (2005) noted that male
academic staff are the main perpetrators of this act. He stressed further that male non-academic
staff that are in charge of students’ disciplinary committees, registration, administration, record
keeping and examination are the other perpetrators
Studies have shown that in most cases, the female students take the first move to lure male
lecturers into this act purposely for academic rewards. Okebukola (2018) opined those students
who are good academically cannot be harassed by their teachers but, those who are weak
academically are the one harassed or offer their teachers their bodies for academic rewards.
Ibrahim, Sogbanmu, Omoju, and Ukwaja (2020) affirmed in a study on the integrity of the
Nigerian University system that some lecturers who perpetrated this act confessed that female
students were the initiators of this devilish act. The study also shown that some female students
consent that nothing special and it not a crime for female students to date male lecturers provided
that there was an agreement between them. They further declared that:
“Some of the female students deliberately engage in sexual relationship with
lecturers to acquire the status of a “super girl” on campus where they derive
great pleasure and are highly thrilled. Conversely, some students, directly or
indirectly, initiate romantic and sexual intimacies with lecturers because they
are lazy and academically very weak with the hope to exploit the sexual
relationship to acquire undeserved grades as a cover for the academic
weakness” Pp. 141.
The above submission is said to be the true picture of the happenings between male lecturers and
female students in most cases. It has been observed that some students, particularly female ones,
consider sex-for-marks option as the only alternative to securing good grades to enhance their
Cumulative Grade Point Average, CGPA, while others could be victims of predators who hide
under the cover of lecturers. Also, Moral weakness on the part of both parties, lecturers single-
handedly taken courses, unattractive salaries, lecturers having unending power over courses and
lack of self-discipline among lecturers and students are other drivers of sex in exchange for
marks in Nigerian higher institutions (Ibrahim, Sogbanmu, Omoju, & Ukwaja, 2020). When
square pegs are put in round holes the incidence of sex-for-marks is bound to occur. Job seekers
who are not morally and ethically fit to teach in higher institutions are engaged and
consequently, end up promoting sex-for-marks menace in citadels of learning where the future of
every sector is determined.
Sex in exchange for marks in universities and other higher institutions is a global issue. Morley
and Lussier (2009); and Onoyase (2019) opined that sex-for-marks is a global problem, that has
permeated the fabrics of higher institutions and many work places where human beings interact.
Okebukola (2018) affirmed that there is a growing trend in the cases of Sex in exchange for
marks in every university globally and the need for urgent action through thorough investigation
of the phenomenon in order to curb with sanctions. These submissions appear to be the truth as
Olakunle and Agboola (2020) submitted that Sex for Marks syndrome is not limited to Nigeria
alone but it cuts across some part of Africa (Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda,
Namibia, Egypt). We have gathered a lot of information from the tertiary institutions in these
countries and we found out there are high level of sexual abuse and molestation of students by
In Kenyatta University (KU), one of Kenya’s largest higher learning institutions, located in
Kahawa, Nairobi; School of Computing and Information Technology at Makerere University;
kyambogo University, Uganda (where a lecturer at the faculty of Engineering was accused of
demanding for sex from female students in exchange for good marks.); Islamic University in
Uganda IUIU (when 23 students were suspended for a year for reportedly indulging in sex-for-
marks activities while on campus.). Brown University in the United States, University of
Malawi, Morocco (Where Four lecturers appeared in court over accusations of offering students
better grades in exchange for sex.); Columbia University (Channels Television, 2021; Trumpet
News, 2021; & Al Jazeera Media Network, 2021)
Responses to Sex – for – Marks Cases by Stakeholders
Cases of sex-for-marks in Nigeria universities had become a source of worry to stakeholders.
The reactions of stakeholders to frequent incidence of sex-for-marks syndrome across Nigeria
higher institutions are as follows:
A Civil Society Group, Sofadondo, on Saturday organised an awareness campaign to
guide against sex-for-marks syndrome at the University of Abuja, Gwagwalada. there is
need for an aggressive campaign awareness to guide against the ugly trend before getting
into the heads of many Nigerian university girls. we are advocating for students to read to
achieve their desired results. part of its mission was to sensitise the society on the dangers
of sexual molestation, intimidation and harassment pervading in Nigeria societies and
stand against same in the institutions
Education professionals condemned the growing cases of sex for grades scandals in
Nigerian Universities. They, therefore, call for stiffer sanctions to be melted out on randy
and erring lecturers found guilty of putting the academic profession into dispute, saying
this will help curb unwholesome practices in the education sector.
Nigerian Senate introduced a bill in 2016 to jail sex-for-grades’ lecturers. The bill was
reintroduced in the year 2020 and has passed third reading. Wait for president assent.
According to the sponsors of the bill Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Labour-Delta Central)
and the 46 co-sponsored senators;
“The bill imposes stiff penalties on offenders in its overall objective of
providing tighter statutory protection for students against sexual hostility
and all forms of sexual harassment in tertiary schools.
“The bill provides a compulsory five-year jail term for lecturers who
sexually harass students. When passed into law, vice chancellors of
universities, rectors of polytechnics and other chief executives of
institutions of higher learning will go to jail for two years if they fail to
act within a week on complaints of sexual harassment made by students.
“The bill expressly allows sexually harassed students, their parents or
guardians to seek civil remedies in damages against sexual predator
lecturers before or after their successful criminal prosecution by the
“The bill also seeks to protect, from sexual harassment, prospective
students seeking admissions into institutions of learning, students of
generally low mental capacity and physically challenged students.”
Academic Staff Union of Nigerian University (ASUU) greatly condemn the act and
called for serious punishments to deter others.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Wanda Adu Foundation, a non-
profit organization noted that cases of sex-for-marks in higher institutions was the least
addressed area of violence and rights violation by the Nigerian government. (only that
victims hardly raised their voice either because they lacked the confidence, scared of
stigmatization or cannot defend their claims.) would increase the confidence and
encourage other female students to speak up and demand for justice. According to them,
the wall of silence and shame must be brought by ensuring that issues surrounding
denigrating form of abuse which can destroy personal careers and lives are brought to the
forefront and addressed. unhappy that in Nigeria, there is no national law against sexual
harassment in the work place though Lagos State Criminal Law prohibits harassment in
educational or employment settings.
Henrietta Rex, NDII Mass Communication students, Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro,
observed that the judicial system has not handled sexual harassment cases well “due to
the extreme the interpretation of what constitute sexual harassment.”
Josephine Audu, A 400-level student of Kogi State University, Ayingba expressed shock
at the alarming rate lecturers harass and sometimes terrorize female students in their
quest for illicit sex in exchange for marks. lack of self-control on the part of lecturers is
the cause of this menace according to her. They allow their emotions to take the better
part of them and leverage on any opportunity including exchanging marks for sex to
ensure they hit their target. It is, however, more pronounced in certain institutions than
others. She concluded that any erring lecturer should be dismissed so as to serve as a
deterrent to others.
The Nigerian Situation
It is very common for academics in Nigeria universities to demand for favours from students to
influence their results. Several headlines both on the prints and social media which include “Sex
for marks in Nigerian Universities”, (Vanguard News, 12th May, 2018); Sex for marks scandal
in OAU’ (Punch, 15th April, 2018); ‘LASU lecturer allegedly caught in another sex scandal’
(Pulse.ng. 14thJuly, 2018); and UNILAG Prof in Sex for mark scandal’ (Sunnewsonline,com 1st
June, 2018) among others are the trending headlines in Nigerian daily newspapers in recent time.
University Cases Sources & Date
1. Obafemi Awolowo
A Professor in the Department of
Management Accounting had five rounds of
sex in exchange for marks with his student
and upgrade her score from 33% to a
percentage of her choice.
Punch, 15th April, 2018
2. University of Lagos
A lecturer raped a female seeking admission
into the institution. The 18-year-old victim
as gathered, was handed to the lecturer by
her father who was his friend, to help her
secure admission. Also raped another
student while supervising her project. She
alleged that he tore her dress and threatened
that she would never graduate from the
school if she refused his sexual overtures.
A seven-minute recorded video of sexual
harassment conversation between an
Engineering lecturer and some female
students went viral in April 2012,
Evelyn Usman, (2018) &
4. Lagos State
A lecturer, who was also caught in his
underpants in a hotel room in Lagos, on the
verge of having sex with a 200-level
Evelyn Usman, (2018) &
5. Ahmadu Bello
A lecturer was apprehended at a private
female hostel in Samaru, after he sneaked
into the hostel, disguised as a woman in a
hijab. Findings showed that he was having
an affair with one of the female students.
News Agency of Nigeria,
6. Osun State
A lecturer was caught on video in a hotel
room with one of his female students. The
female student used her Laptop to record the
act and posted it on social media.
News Agency of Nigeria,
7. University of Calabar A senior lecturer was accused of harassing a
16-year-old female Diploma student in the
Faculty of Law.
News Agency of Nigeria,
8. Ekiti State University
(EKSU), Ado Ekiti
A lecturer was involved in the sex-for-
News Agency of Nigeria,
9. University of Port
A lecturer sleep with a female student, also
demanded threesome and the student paid
for the hotel room and the student ended up
having E grade in the course.
Kelechi EwuzieOct 8,
10 Akwa Ibom State Fourteen lecturers were found guilty for June 16, 2021 Samuel
University (AKSU) sexually abusing students for marks Abasiekong, Business
Also, in a study by Adekunle et al. (2020) literatures have indicated cases of sexual harassment
in Nigerian Universities. According to him, 77% in two Nigerian Universities, 97% in tertiary
institutions in Edo State, 36.7% in an institution in Ebonyi State, 8% in Colleges of North
Eastern Nigeria, 7.1% in tertiary institutions in Maiduguri, Borno State, 44.4 % in some faith-
based private universities and 32.2% of Nigerian female graduates serving in Oyo State. Hence,
it is evident that cases of sex-for-marks (which is a product of sexual harassment) are common
phenomenon in Nigerian universities.
Dangers of “Sex – for – Marks”
Sex-for-marks syndromes in Nigerian universities and the educational system generally has the
following negative effects:
It poses threat to female students and the integrity of examination results.
It undermines the university or education system of any country.
It threatens the fabrics of Nigeria’s citadel of higher learning.
It lowers the prestige that is attached to university graduates.
It serves as a collective damage to Nigerian academics.
It mortgages the standard and quality of our universities in Nigeria.
It devalues the certificates issue by Nigerian universities.
Implications of Sex – for – Marks Syndromes for Educational Administrators
The university plays vital roles in nation building. The achievement of the desire goals of
university education is determined by the competence of the school administrator. In view of the
dangers of sex-for-marks syndromes in Nigerian university, no school administrator wants
his/her institutions to have bad name before preparing to face the challenges. The cases of sex in
exchange for marks in Nigerian universities have a lot of implications for the educational
administrators. The implications include:
University is charged with the responsibility of producing high level manpower; develop
and inculcate proper values for the survival of the individual and society; develop the
intellectual capacity of individual to understand and appreciate their local and external
environments; and promote national and international understanding and interaction.
Educational administrators should know that Sex-for-marks syndromes in campuses
make the objectives of the university system unrealistic. Consequently, the situation
would not prove worthy the ability, credentials and position the school administrators
The issue of standard rules and regulations deserve serious attention by educational
administrators. The creation of standard rules and regulations covers the rights, duties and
operations of all members. As such control and regulate the behaviour of all the member
and ensure conformity with general norms and promote the development of standards.
Sex-for-marks syndromes is an immoral behaviour that is detrimental to the standard of
university education and impediment to the development and attainment of educational
goals, which in turn hampered the healthy growth of the younger generation. An
administrator who administers schools where different professional misconducts
(including sex-for-marks cases) take place is bound to fail. Therefore, educational
administrator should set standard rules or laws in order to further realize his roles in
maintaining overall discipline and not forgetting the fact that he would be held
responsible for any form of indiscipline in the system.
Sex-for-marks could new innovations and the development of skills required by the
society and employers of labour. The administrators of public universities should guide
against any act that is capable of bringing the teachers, schools and the profession into
disrepute. It should be of note that higher institutions retain the singular ability to
transform this nation for greater developmental exploits because that is where the base of
our most productive youths reside.
Fear has no place in the world of intellectualism. that if students are not allowed to study
in an atmosphere devoid of fear, their productivity will be subpar. If students are unable
to express themselves because lecturers are harsh, mean, fraudulent, lecherous,
manipulating and self-seeking, predatory, wicked, uncaring, and lack self-control, then
where will innovations come from? Through this process, the lecturers will promote
those who are undeserving, elevate the mediocre and frustrate brilliant students. Does that
not tell a story? In a way this action could be a barrier to innovation and the development
of one's skills.
Fair-hearing plays a significant role in probing into any case of sexual harassment.
Students should be given fair-hearing by conducting through investigation. Therefore,
cases of sex in exchange for marks in our campuses should be investigated to verify the
claim. If the claim is true, stiffer penalties should be given to the perpetrators according
to the established regulations. This will serve as deterrent to others as such offender is not
allowed to go free.
Information and knowledge are powerful instruments for solving problems. Re-
orientation of major stakeholders in the university system on a regular basis serves as
important catalyst to ensure sex-for-marks- free university system in Nigeria. Therefore,
educational administrator should organize regular orientation programme to sensitize the
students and lecturers on dangers posed by this menace. Basic ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ on how
best to cope with this situation should be disseminated to the university audience.
Strategies for achieving Sex–for–Marks – free University System in Nigeria
Formulation of strong policy that prohibits Sex–for–Marks: The federal government
through the universities management should formulate strong policies that discourages
sex-for-marks syndromes in Nigerian Universities. Such policy should empower the staff,
students, university communities and other stakeholders in the universities to report cases
of sexual harassment including sex-for-marks cases. In this policy document, the identity
of the reporter or victim should be made confidential. Academicians with integrity and
good moral records should be allowed to conduct investigations into the matter to verify
the claim. If the claim is true, stiffer penalties should be given to the perpetrators
according to the established regulations.
Establishment of disciplinary committee on Sex–for–Marks: Universities
management should put strong and functional disciplinary committee in place. This
committee should be made to receive allegations and reports on sexual harassment
including sex-for-marks cases in the university system. The committee should be made to
conduct investigations into cases of sexual harassment to verify the claim and make
recommendations on the next line of actions. The recommendations should be
implemented according to the established regulations.
Checks and balances Mechanisms: Checks and balances mechanisms should be
encouraged to reduce (if not totally eradicated) sex-for-marks cases in Nigerian
university system. This internal review system should discourage teaching and grading of
course(s) by a lecturer, in order words, two or more lecturers should be made to teach and
grade a course (s). Also, these lecturers should not be allowed to take a course/ courses
more than three consecutive academic sessions. Departments should constitute
committees and make academicians with good moral records members of these
committees. Marking and compilation of results should be vetted by these committees.
Regular and Continuous Re-orientation Programmes: The university management
through relevant units should be mandated and empowered to organize regular and
continuous re-orientation programmes to sensitize both the staff (teaching and non-
teaching) and students on the negative effects of sex-for-marks syndromes in the system
and on the educational system generally. In these re-orientation programmes, the
penalties for perpetrators should be comprehensively worded and emphasized.
Regular campaigns Against Decent dressing on Campuses: It is very sad to see
lecturers that should have been good examples to students dressing indecently on our
campuses. Students (males and females) are not excluded in this case. The University
management through various faculties should intensify efforts to introduce dressing codes
in their respective faculties. As we know that different faculties in the universities made
up the university system. Students should be made to respect such dress codes. Any
students or staff that dress anyhow should not be allowed in the university environment.
Initiation of activities that could Promote professional ethics by Unions: Among the
stakeholders that promote integrity in the Nigerian educational system are unions.
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions such as Non-Academic
Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian
Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT)
across Nigerian universities should initiate programmes that promote professionalism and
integrity in the system particularly, integrity of its members. The programmes should be a
continuous one. Punishments that will be metered on any recalcitrant members should be
spelt-out in clear terms by the unions. The punishments should include dismissal from the
The paper examines cases of sex-for-marks in Nigerian universities. Based on the submission of
this paper, sex-for-marks syndromes is common in Nigerian public universities. This act is
dangerous, shameful and worrisome to stakeholders in the educational sector, and poses serious
threats to the quality of academic instructions and the certificates offer to the graduates in our
higher institutions. Therefore, if the Nigerian higher institutions, particularly Nigerian
universities are to be relevant in meeting the needs of producing manpower needed in every
sector of our economic, all hands must be on deck to nip this menace in the bud.
The following recommendations are made based on the discussions of this paper:
University administrators should organize orientations on regular basis to sensitize the
students and lecturers on the dangers of sex in exchange for marks.
Stiffer penalties should be metered by the university management on any students or staff
(teaching and non-teaching) found guilty of sex-for-marks in Nigerian universities.
The university management should state the sexual harassment policies and procedures
clearly as well as publicizing them within the campus community to deter potential
perpetrator or harassers from harassing and at the same time prevent the victims from
being silent and helpless.
The university management through various faculties should introduce dressing codes for
students so as to prevent students indecent dressing on our campuses.
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