Sex-for-marks: Professor bags 2-year jail term

Former lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, Professor Richard Akindele, who was involved in a sex-for-marks scandal with one of his students, Monica Osagie, after demanding for sex from her to award marks in order to pass her course, was yesterday sentenced to two years imprisonment by Justice Maurine Onyetenu of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, the state capital. Akindele was jailed on a four-count charge.
In her judgement, Onyetenu sentenced the convict to 24 months on count one, 24 months on count two, 12 months on count three and 12 months on count four. The total sentence is six years. But Onyetenu said the jail term should run concurrently, thereby making it two years’ imprisonment.
Akindele had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) when he was arraigned before Onyetenu on November 19. He had since then been remanded in prison custody, following an objection to his bail.
However, when the case came up yesterday, the embattled professor changed his plea and admitted to be guilty of the charges.
Efforts by his counsel to suspend the sentence and negotiate for plea bargain failed because Onyetenu condemned the rampant cases of students’ harassment by lecturers in tertiary institutions.
Onyetenu, who spoke in an emotion-laden voice, said: “The plea bargain is not absolute. The court still has discretion. This kind of issue is too rampant in our tertiary institutions. We send children to school, but they come home to tell us that lecturers want to sleep with them.
“We cannot continue like this. Somebody has to be used as an example. Even primary school pupils are complaining. Telling me to suspend sentence does not arise. Plea bargain does not arise. Maybe the case continues to occur and recur because someone has not been used as example.
“It is time for the court to start upholding the rights of the children, especially female students. The case is endemic.”
Counsel to the defendant, Mr. Francis Omotosho, however, argued that the defendant had lost his job and had learnt his lesson. He also disclosed to the court that the university had discovered the mistake in the marking of the examination paper of the victim (Osagie) and had concluded plans to compensate her.
He added that plans were on to renovate the front view of lecturers’ offices at OAU with transparent glass to discourage any attempts by lecturers to take advantage of girls in their office.
But the judge, who was not moved by the prayer of the counsel, said: “Do you think they do it in the office? They go to hotels.”
After examining the plea bargain entered into and signed by the counsel, the judge said there was need to deter other people because of the nature of the case.
Counsel to the ICPC, Mr. Shogunle Adenekan, urged the court to confiscate the mobile phone of the defendant and forfeit it to the Federal Government.


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