Outrage as Sexual Assault Scandals Unfold at UNILAG’s College of Medicine

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Revelations of widespread sexual assault at the University of Lagos’ (UNILAG) College of Medicine have triggered public outrage and demands for reform among students and anti-violence organizations on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Using the hashtag #EndSACultureInCMUL, victims have shared harrowing accounts of their experiences, criticizing the university’s inadequate response. One victim reported an assault to the Dean of Student Affairs, resulting in a minor fine and an apology letter from the alleged perpetrator.

Reports reveal the university’s policy allows first-time offenders to pay a fine of N2,500 for sexual assault, with repeat offenders facing a doubled fine of N5,000. Among the accused is Oluwagbemileke Otokiti, a second-year pharmacy student, previously involved in a similar incident in March 2024, where he was fined ₦5000 and required to write an apology letter.

On June 28, 2024, another male pharmacy student was reported for sexually harassing a female radiography student. At approximately 1:00 am on June 26, a student identified as Samuel inappropriately touched the victim while she was asleep in a study room. Despite being confronted by the victim’s friend, Samuel dismissed the incident as mutual. The case was reported to the school’s House of Lords, prompting an investigation.

Messages sent to @TheAiraspeaks also exposed Chibueze Nwammah, a 600-level medical student, accused of assaulting over 30 female students. Despite a petition signed by 54 people and an investigation panel formed, no updates have been provided.

In another incident, the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students’ sub-dean responded to an assault report with a vague message advising male students to control their emotions. Accused perpetrators continue to participate in school activities, including sports and social events, and remain housed in mixed-gender dormitories.

The initial tweet has led to more victims coming forward with evidence, implicating both the alleged perpetrators and the University of Lagos management in a systematic cover-up. The administration mandates that every undergraduate sign an indemnity form, effectively gagging them from protesting under threat of expulsion. Organizations are now petitioning for stricter consequences for sexual assault perpetrators, including withholding professional licenses and implementing effective punishments.

Anti-violence organizations such as LagosDVSA and WARDC have backed the initiative, highlighting the need for comprehensive action against campus sexual assault. Attempts to reach the Dean of Students for comment were unsuccessful.

A study by the Africa Polling Unit on sexual assault in Nigerian universities reveals that sexual abuse is more prevalent than rape in tertiary institutions, with only a 5% difference in prevalence. Nearly 79% of students identified female students as the primary victims, while male students, cultists, and lecturers were the main perpetrators.

These findings underscore the urgent need for preventive and protective measures from law enforcement and government agencies to ensure the safety of women on campuses. This is a developing story.

A petition to enforce accountability for sexual harassment at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL) is ongoing. Sign it here.

What is being done?

A growing social media movement is pushing for stricter consequences for sexual assault perpetrators within Nigerian universities. The campaign centers around a petition that demands the withholding of professional licenses from students found guilty of sexual assault, compelling institutions to implement effective punishments and prevent these individuals from entering the healthcare profession.

The proposed measure is inspired by an existing policy in the Faculty of Law, where students facing disciplinary panels for malpractice risk losing their eligibility for legal licensing.

Prominent anti-violence organizations, including the Lagos Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (LagosDVSA) and the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), have endorsed the initiative, providing credibility and resources to the cause. Their support highlights the urgent need to address campus sexual assault and ensure perpetrators are held accountable.

The involvement of these established organizations signals a broader recognition of the issue and reinforces the movement’s call for systemic change within universities to protect students and uphold professional standards.

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