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Displaying items by tag: lagos

Ejiks1

 

From selling tobacco at bus parks to drinking oil & smoking gas at one of the world's biggest oil & gas giants!

 

Humans love catharsis – that situation which draws pity and fear from you. Pity, for the sad experience, and fear, because somewhere deep down you’re terrified that the same thing may happen to you or a loved one. Far above this love for catharsis, is a dislike for tragedy. Almost everyone loves a good story – the kind of story that leaves your heart bursting with happiness even though it might have started on a sad note. Such a story falls neatly in the ‘from grass to grace’ category. But even grasses may be a luxury in some desperate times when the earth around you boils and vegetations cannot thrive. It can be likened to the scorch of the sun, unrelenting in the sky and no matter where you turn to for shelter, the excruciating bites of the heat follow. Then, suddenly you’re transported onto a calm scenery, where a cool breeze caresses your skin and the wet, titillating scent of nature is inhaled with your every breath. Imagine for a moment, the exhilarating feeling! That was the exact feeling for Collins Ezeocha!

  

Collins Ezeocha grew up in the rustic setting of old Maroko, where shanties sat on each other’s shoulders and became a floating abyss when the waters overran the banks and flowed freely through the streets. The demolition of the Maroko area in 1990 led to the relocation of his family to Ajegunle. Collins speaks reminiscently of that period: “Our house was not far from the present location of Eti-Osa Local Govt. I have jokingly referred to my background as poor with a lot of ‘shukushuku’ (thorns).” He fondly remembers playing football and rolling tyres, wearing only his underpants with other kids on the streets and the delights of the banal such as drinking garri with fried pork. There was a sense of communal living – a type of togetherness absent in today’s ‘gated’ lifestyle especially among the elites. The Ezeochas were not wealthy, but they were happy.

  

Then, the vicissitudes of life kicked in and just like the highly famous demand curve in Economics, which is dependent on some near-irrefutable laws, there was indeed a downward-shaped slope. Worse still, the actual situation became more like a scatter-graph. Collins relates:

“My mother died on the 9th of January, 1995. It was a great loss that had a huge impact on my life. It slowed down my academic pursuit; it changed the course of my academic journey. My mother was a petty trader but her income by far surpassed that of my dad. She was determined to give us the best with her limited resources. I recall having at least two textbooks for each of my science subjects. But after her death, this all changed. I had to live with my uncle and my kid brother went to live with our cousin.”

  

 

During this trying time after his mother’s death, an incident remains etched in his memory. After a stern warning from his Biology teacher in high school who had threatened fire and brimstone if he missed a practical class, Collins had had to trek from Pako Aguda to Broad Street, Lagos! His uncle had forgotten to drop his transport fare. For a child who grew up under the sheltered wings of his mother, it was very difficult for Collins to beg or ask people for favours. So, he had braced himself and trekked that long distance. He recalls that emotional experience: “I got to school and started crying. My Vice Principal helped to rally around to get some money for me to return home.”

 

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That strenuous trek was to set the pace for varying challenges he had to face headlong as the years trudged by slowly. After Collins finished his secondary school education, he couldn’t proceed for further studies immediately because first, he had to survive. He took to teaching (mainly home coaching) Physics, Chemistry and Maths. He went to the homes of the elites and the middle class – he noticed the quality of life they had; beautiful homes and lovely children provided with luxury & comfort. This observation sometimes left him depressed as he returned to his space of almost nothing but over time, it motivated him to strive harder to make the most of his situation. He was ready to try his hands on anything just to succeed and he recollects vividly: “Let me quickly add that I also stayed with a friend that was selling tobacco and I did sell tobacco (taba) at Maroko bus stop for almost a year.”

 

While it’s all too common to find young people in need being under immense pressure to crack up & simply find shortcuts out of any undesirable hole, Collins remained resolute & gritty. His humble and disciplined upbringing helped him remain focused, against all odds. Collins says:

“I didn't have to look for quick fixes or corrupt practices. As I said earlier, ‘mo ta taba ati ogogoro’ (I sold tobacco and gin) at Maroko Bus Stop. And there were times when my employer had to introduce me as a graduate to some of the families whose children I taught just to make them feel more comfortable with me. They would look at me with suspicion but after the teaching, they would be so impressed that I often got some additional goodwill compensation. Aside those cases, I can't remember getting involved in any corrupt shortcuts.”

 

For a period of two years, Collins worked hard to eke out a living. Then, there came a rare opportunity for him to advance with his biggest aspiration – to get an education. The vice principal of the secondary school he attended had introduced him to some old students for their assistance. However, these persons were only interested in assisting him if  & only if he accepted to study medicine in the university. Given the duration of a medical course and his peculiar circumstances, it didn't quite cut the mustard for him; he would possibly not survive such a marathon without firm financial assurances. Instinctively, he knew he was cut out for just one specific area: Engineering. His main reason for this choice was his strong numerical ability and love for the “core” science subjects. He did not have any guidance or mentoring on this and took the decision solely based on his academic prowess in subjects such as physics & mathematics. Collins had heard that the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) was an institution which promoted practical & applied knowledge; and this provided further impetus & a firm assurance of self-empowerment even without the prospect of a paid job after his studies. In no time, his tertiary education adventure kicked off at YABATECH. “The entrance form fee was paid for by my immediate senior at Methodist Boys High School whom I ran into on Marina road. Mohammed Usman, if you get to read this, I say thank you.”

 

A year passed by and while in a mechanical workshop with more than 100 students gathered around a Lathe machine and with him barely able to see the practical instructions being shown, Collins decided to leave the workshop for the library. On the pages of a book, he learnt what was being taught in the practical class and in the examination, he scored 86 (the highest mark) without any practical or operational knowledge. Collins realised it was time to do something bizarre – “My worst fears stared me in the face. The practical knowledge I had sought was not what I was getting. I took a decision to leave engineering and embark on another course in the university. I bought a GCE form and registered for a few social-science subjects. I also bought a JAMB form to apply to study accounting at the prestigious University of Lagos. It was a tough decision and I didn't discuss it with anyone. I didn't know as of that time that engineering in Nigeria was driven mainly by the industry you eventually got employed into.”

 

Collins like a diligent farmer did not abandon his tilled crops close to the harvest. He chose to complete his National Diploma in Engineering while he also prepared for his new exploration into the social-science world. Collins recounts proudly: “I left YABATECH as the best engineering student at ND level and months later, got admitted into the University of Lagos on merit to study accounting. Again, the fear of not being able to defend my certificate (practical wise) came into my mind. However, I was determined to give it my best efforts.”

 

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As an Akokite (a UNILAG student), the struggle was unrelenting. Everything on campus was expensive as the general belief, especially among  commodity vendors, was that only rich folks attended UNILAG. This was before private universities took that award away. Would you blame them? Everything on campus supported & cemented that belief; there were rich students, the Yahoo boys & the aristo-babes in Moremi & Fagunwa. So, many folks were either from rich homes or were doing something, albeit illegit, to maintain a lifestyle garnished with luxury.  So, surviving on campus while aiming to top a class filled with some of the most intelligent students out there (many of them with already well-established social-science foundation) with no much financial assistance from anybody was quite daunting. 

 

To survive, Collins continued with teaching but this time around, within the university environment in Akoka. I was taking Distance Learning Institute (DLI) students, LASU part-time students and private students. I was also on a number of scholarships that no doubt were life-savers.” When he was asked about the strategies he used in maintaining excellence in his studies, this was his inspiring response: “Start with the end in mind. The drive for me was to make a First Class ab initio. The strategy was simple – STUDY, STUDY and STUDY. I tried in most cases to be ahead of the class – I solved lots of questions and went the extra mile. Prioritise your time. Yes, catch some fun but let your primary objective be to leave the school with the best you can.” Indeed, Ejiks (as he was fondly called by his classmates & admirers) became a hot property on campus in no time as his reputation as one of the academic giants in UNILAG soared tremendously. The name of the engineer-turned-accountant phenomenon rang a bell in Newest Hall, Marierie, King Jaja, MTH, Amina, Faculty of Business Admin, even all the way to the Faculty of Engineering where the top dogs there were too glad that he had  swiftly made that switch while entering UNILAG (one less competitor!). At the end of the very first semester of his first year, he was already on First-Class. This, he maintained till the very end; blasting a few records along the way.

 

Ejiks is, indeed, one of a kind. This was someone who did sciences all through his days in high school. He went to YABATECH & beat everyone to pick up the top award in Engineering. He woke up, had a whim & decided to "cross-carpet" to the other side. After a year or two, he was  not only ahead of the pack in his new field, he was teaching people who had done those same subjects all their lives. He had a singular belief which he held onto: he believed if he attained success in his academics, he would be on a path to success in life. “Absolutely, it makes life’s journey easy especially if you are not leaving straight to run your company. Getting good grades gives you an invite to most job tests. It makes it easier for someone to want to refer you. It is an immediate assessment of your capability without trying you out. It bridges the gap between an elite and a rural guy. In my case, God granted me favour by blessing the work of my hand. Do your bit and let God do the rest.”

 

Now, to the pressing question on most minds – how did that boy who once sold tobacco at bus parks end up in an IOC (international oil company)? Collins Ezeocha’s response: “Na God! I applied to the IOC via Naijahotjobs during my NYSC in Minna. I was lucky to be among the few that were eventually employed after the rigorous employment process.” According to Collins, his strategy for sustaining excellence and uniqueness in his workplace is simple: “Try to be the best at what you do. Go the extra mile, have a self-propelling drive/passion for excellence. Let your work speak for you and then leave the rest to God.”

 

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It is noteworthy that after all the rigours this young man has passed through, he has retained a boisterous spirit, one which radiates through his lively responses. If Collins Ezeocha had a chance to rewrite his life’s history, what are the things he would change and those he would prefer remained the same? Maybe I should start with hoping I was born into an elite or middle class home (hahahaha). On a more serious note, I think my life actually revolved this way because of my background. I would prefer the discipline, godly instructions from my parents, strong value system, drive for excellence and self-starter traits remained the same.”

 

For the struggling youths and entry-level staff entering the corporate world in Nigeria, he had this advice: “Be focused. Let the end guide your behaviour, inculcate a penchant for excellence, create an enviable brand for yourself. Ask yourself what you would want to be remembered for. Lastly, don’t lose hope. My God who did it for me, will do much more for you.”

 

Collins Ezeocha is happily married to his beautiful wife, Diana, whom he met at UNILAG and they are blessed with two beautiful daughters & a lovely son.

 

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Developed Exclusively for LeVitateNaija by: Ife Watson & Isaac Audu-Usman

 

 

       

 

AMBODE PLANS WATER TRANSPORT FOR LAGOS

ambode1

 

The Lagos State Government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has plans to make transportation easier in the State. Mr Ade Akinsanya, Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, made the pledge at the first Annual Stakeholders' Forum organised by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in Lagos.
 

 

He also said: "I am happy that the forum is taking place at a time when one of the critical challenges facing the state is how to move citizens efficiently and effectively and improve the capacity of the various modes of transportation for the benefit of the people. Just as other cities across the world, Lagos State is facing the challenge of rapid urbanisation due to the growing influx of people into the State.

 

"As such, there is the need to ensure provision of infrastructure that extends beyond the present generation.
To ensure a safe, secure and prosperous Lagos State, there is the need for the establishment of appropriate standards and regulations in line with international best practices, towards the much needed implementation of water transport in the State.

 

"These standards and regulations will be executed by LASWA in terms of licensing, registration and enforcement of vessels plying the state's waterways with a strict adherence to compliance," the Governor said.

 

 

 

Lagos, Arik & the Leaky Skies

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(Picture Credit: aitonline.tv)

 

By: Isaac Audu-Usman

  

“Attention please. This is to announce that the departure time for Arik Air W3 744 to Port Harcourt is hereby delayed for 30mins. This is due to operational…Thank you.” Gbam! I knew I was in for it again. For a while now, I had avoided both Arik & Aero like a plague. The latter especially had forced me to do a serious re-assessment of the economics of flying within Nigeria at some point. Aero ‘don’ punish me ‘wella’. You get to the airport 2 hours before your flight time because you are not always sure how the road is going to look like; & you are thinking seriously about not losing the money you have used to pay for the ticket. This is especially true if you like ‘awoof’ (freebies) & you booked it many weeks ahead. The ticket price on the actual day may well double what you actually paid; so, it’s better to sit it all out at the airport than coughing out some very hard-to-come-by cash for a late-minute ticket, you say reassuringly to yourself. But hey, Aero can make you sit for another 4 hours on a bad day. By the time you get to your destination & spend another half an hour trying to get your luggage, ehhmmmm…you may have ended up spending 8hours on your trip:

 

From your home to the airport = 1hr

 

Normal checking & waiting time =2hrs

 

Delay = 2.5hrs

 

Flight time = 1hr

 

Waiting time for luggage = 0.5hr

 

Time from airport to town/destination = 1hr

 

Total = 8 hours

 

Imagine this was a flight from Lagos to Warri. It’s approximately 5 hours by road. Someone who opts to travel by road will definitely get to Warri before you while you sit there deceiving yourself that you are flying! Let’s forget all the deception. The reality is that for very short routes, flying isn’t the fastest means of transportation in Nigeria! Anyway, I am not writing about the economics of flying tonight; I will do that some other time. This is about a leaky Arik flight I found myself on earlier today. But before I leave this point, I must say that I have recently found an airline that does all it can to keep to time. It’s Air Peace. I am not here to do a promo for them at all. They are not advertising on levitatenaija.com, so be rest assured that’s not the case. By the way, talking about adverts, we have never even had one before! LOL. But we will get there…

  

Back to my flight experience with Arik. You may be wondering, if I find Air Peace that good, why did I opt for Arik then? Well, I was in Lagos on an official assignment last week. We normally use a chartered flight service but once that service is full, we are routed to commercial flights. On this occasion, I booked late & the flight was fully booked at the time. So, that’s the head & tail of how I got here. I checked my wrist-watch; it was 2:34pm. This was Sunday, November 15th. That was shortly after the announcement was made. The flight had been for 3pm. So, departing at 3.30pm wouldn’t be that bad, I quietly hoped. I was very hungry. Yet I was too lazy to climb upstairs with my luggage to go eat. If you use the old Local or MM1 frequently, you will notice that there are far fewer restaurants than the more expansive MM2. I could see an eatery just above me but I didn’t have the energy to do the distance. I had been afraid to eat before I left the house because of my ugly experience the previous night; I couldn’t afford being pressed onboard. I mean the marathon type. 3 BIG bottles of Orijin left me squatting mercilessly at an open bar’s public toilet in Egbeda (Lagos) when the medicinal properties of the aromatic beer seemed to have done serious justice to my stuffed tommy by flushing out all the ‘ejekuje’ (rubbish) I had consumed the days before! I love that beer, quite frankly. But it almost made me have small droppings on my boxers unannounced! When I found myself helplessly rushing to this ‘shalanga’-like toilet, I couldn’t stop thinking that this was a curse from my cousin, Obus, whom I was meant to follow to a Smirnoff House (DJ Spinall’s) party at Oniru but I just couldn’t risk ruining my Sunday morning ahead of my trip back to PH & I frantically backed out only at the 11th hour; much to her chagrin. Errrmmmm...I still haven’t mustered the courage to call her ooo.

 

Why am I digressing too much? I have a lot to write about this short Lagos trip but I really want to stay focused on this leaky Arik flight experience. Okay, back to my story. The fight was delayed for a little over an hour. I was relieved to say the least. Then we boarded. I normally check my seat number before I climb the stairs so that that often-strategically-placed ‘ITK’ air hostess at the front of the cabin doesn’t think I am one flight JJC & start giving me direction to my seat like those annoying computerised voice-only ladies on GPS apps you see in the US & Europe! But hey, this time around I didn’t even have to bother about my specific seat number. As soon as I climbed onto the cabin, she announced it was free-seating. Momentarily, my mind flashed back to those chaotic Aero days when you could find yourself ‘seatless’ even after checking in because of this notorious free-seating conundrum that was very similar in shape & form to the Darwinian survival of the fittest. Thank God those days are long gone! I walked to the tail of the BOEING 737-800 aircraft & found a few empty seats. But something was quite weird. I noticed many of the window seats were not occupied. This was odd, I thought to myself. Nigerians like window seats. You get to know this because they are the first to get exhausted at the checking-in counter!

  

Well, I didn’t have to wait that long to find out why the seats were empty. The air conditioners were terribly dripping water. I spent the first few minutes redirecting the water away from my jeans. I just couldn’t risk letting it drip helplessly on a sensitive part of my jeans for another full hour. Not when a pretty lady is sitting beside me. Such a site will leave people’s minds wandering amok as to what exactly may have left so much liquid on such a strategic part of my trousers. Luckily, other passengers began bickering as those leaky seats became the only available seats. I overhead one passenger say this was ‘free onboard shower’! Interestingly, even the AC outlet panels were bad; they were very bad & shaky. I began to question the operational state of the aircraft in my mind. Many ‘why’ & ‘what if’ questions began to spring to life. But I quickly dismissed them; this was just an AC issue, not engine’s. But that said, Arik should not allow the AC outlets in its cabin to get to such a deplorable state as to kill the passenger comfort that is supposed to be integral part of the flying experience value proposition. The NCAA should look into this. And with the highly vivacious Rotimi Amaechi set to pilot the new omnibus Ministry of Transport, one would hope that passengers do not find themselves in leaky aircraft cabins in the future. Anyway, the cabin attendants temporarily fixed the issue by stuffing tissue papers to block the leaky outlets. However, the task was so daunting that one of the attendants whispered to his colleague: “O boy, I don tire ooo”. Laugh ‘wan kill me die’ as that cracked me up madly. I quickly brought out my phone whose battery was already red at 12% and took some snaps as we taxied through the runaway. The leaky flight turned out to be a smooth one after all. Who says ‘leaky’ & ‘smooth’ can’t be in the same sentence? LOL! It’s time to sleep. Monday looms!

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FUEL SCARCITY HITS LAGOS

fuel scarcity

 

The long queues at filling stations have returned to Lagos. Why there is a shortage is not immediately clear, but this is what some people had to say:  
 

 

One filling station manager said: "It's not that there is no fuel. We don't understand why this is happening. Instead of them to supply us five lorry-loads of the product, what we eventually get is just one per week. I sincerely hope this would be quickly resolved."
 

 

A motorist had this to say: I have been here for almost one hour now. In fact, I had to quickly take permission from my office just to make sure I fill-up the tank of my car. I hope this situation will not get worse."

 

By Kindness Okoli

 

 

 

BANKS CONTINUE TO REGISTER BVN IN LAGOS

BVN

Despite the expiration of the October 31st deadline, bank customers are still not done with their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN). Many banks in Lagos are filled with customers, some bank workers, however, said that the exercise was putting pressure on their routine operations.
 

 

So far, more than 21 million bank customers have registered for the BVN according to official statistics.

 

By Chika Jones

 

MAKOKO, LAGOS IS BURNING

Makoko

 

 

Makoko is a riverine community sandwiched between Yaba and the 3rd Mainland  Bridge. And ironically the community built on water is burning. 
 

 

Commuters from Third Mainland Bridge can feel the heat of the fire and see the burning. No visible attempts were being made as at the time of this report to stop it.

 

By Chika Jones

RRS CLAMPS DOWN ON OKADA RIDERS IN LAGOS

 

okada riders

 

 

Operatives of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS), carried out a clampdown on operators of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada in Lagos State. The riding of Okada was frowned upon by the immediate past Government, but had flourished in recent times, the RRS responded by impounding all they could lay their hands on. 

 
By Chika Jones 

illegal pharmacies

 

The Lagos State Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods was in full swing today, as they went into action against illegal pharmacies and patent stores.
 

 

In a release signed by Mrs Adeola Salako, Director of Information, Lagos State Ministry of Health, it was revealed that thirty three of such illegal pharmacies was shut down also fake drugs worth millions of Naira were also mopped up during the exercise.
 

 

Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr Olufemi Onanuga,said: "The closure is part of the government's effort to rid the State of fake, substandard and illegal drugs' operators and outlets. It is also to ensure high drug quality through sanitation and streamlining of drug distribution system in the State."

 

By Kindness Okoli

 

POLICEMAN KILLS BUS DRIVER IN LAGOS

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Ruckus enveloped Orile, along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, on Friday after a policeman gunned down a commercial driver for refusing to pay the daily amount they give policemen as they ply that route.



According to an anonymous eyewitness, the policeman whose identity remains unknown attempted to shoot the tyres of the bus as the driver made to escape, the bullet hit the driver on his chest, killing him instantly.

The policeman is said to be attached to Orile Police Station.


By Temitope Bamidele

 

ambode

 

As the world marked World Food Day, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode disclosed that the State consumes N365bn worth of rice annually, that is approximately N1bn worth daily.

 

 

Ambode disclosed this over the weekend at the grand finale of the World Food Day held at the Johnson Agiri Agricultural Complex, Agege area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria. He said Lagos consumed 50 per cent of national rice demand which is put at two million metric tonnes that is valued at over N365 billion.

 

 

This year's world food day had the theme that states: Social Protection and
Agriculture; Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty. The governor said his administration had decided to collaborate with the Kebbi State Government on the development of rice value chain.

 

 

He disclosed that in the next few months, hundreds of thousands of bags of rice would be available in Lagos State for consumers, enjoining the private sector and stakeholders in the Agro-enterprise value chain to invest in additional milling facilities in collaboration with the State government to produce enough locally milled rice and wean consumers off imported rice within the next 24 hours.

 

 

Ambode enjoined all rice distributors in the various markets including Daleko Market to register with officials to guarantee high quality milled rice for Lagos State, saying that “It is our desire to ensure food security and an enabling environment for our people to have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy life.”

By Kindness Okoli

Traffic locks down Lagos-Abuja Road

 
The Okene-Lokoja Highway is currently locked down by heavy traffic.
 
The gridlock has trapped passengers enroute Lagos from Abuja and other places.
 
Therefore the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has urged commuters to seek out alternative routes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
By: Chika Onwuasoanya
 
 

LagMech Village

 

The mechanic village at Ashabi Cole Street in the Central Business District of Alausa area of Lagos was on Friday consumed by fire which completely destroyed over 15 vehicles and partly 10 others.

 

The fire, which was reported to have started around 2:30am, lasted some hours before it was eventually curbed by the State Fire Service.

 

No life was lost in the incident, however, several goods were also burnt, including motor batteries and generators. Other properties that were completely razed in the premises include a computer services shop and a confectionery shop.

 

Also, the fire razed to the Tisco building, which shares boundary with the mechanic shop, destroying printing machines, air conditioners, desktop computers, souvenirs and other items.

 

By: Temitope Bamidele


Credit: Punch

The Olu of Warri Joins His Ancestors

Olu of Warri

 

The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase II is dead.  The traditional ruler died on Saturday,  5th of September,  2015. 

The Olu of Warri was until his death, the traditional ruler of the Itshekiri Kingdom.  He reportedly died at a private hospital in Lagos...

By: Chika Onwuasoanya

 

sexual harrassment

 

Sexual Harassment can be said to be an unwanted sexual attention or behaviour which negatively affects the work or learning environment. In some cases, this occurs when a person in a position of power uses that influence to force a subordinate into providing sexual favours. The imbalance of power creates a situation in which the subordinate cannot freely say no. In many instances, the behaviour of sexual nature creates an intimidating atmosphere in the learning environment which ultimately disrupts a person’s ability to learn. These kinds of sexual behaviours may be in form of: Sexual touching and/or suggestive looks, gestures and sounds.  

                                                                  

In (Nigerian) universities today, sexual harassment has somewhat become a norm.  It happens daily and its impact is growing at an alarming rate! The social issue has become a part of the undisciplined minds of both the perpetrators of the act and the victims. These victims succumb to this act for many reasons like:                                                                                                       

- They have no one to help them out of the situation.      

 - The student can be threatened with carry-overs and eventually an extra year.                                    

 - They succumb to peer pressure – 'everyone is doing it' and so on.                                                           

- Many students do not have the courage to say no and are victimised when they do.

 

This is KELENA'S story: a victim of sexual harassment.

“I got inappropriate sexual advances from the first week of resumption as a diploma student in the university,” Kelena said.

Kelena narrates her first encounter with her first harasser: ' After a wonderful lecture, I thought what a wonderful way to end the week. I sat on the first front row of the class and the lecturer was still discussing with a student as everyone started leaving the class. When I was about to leave, it was just the lecturer, the student and I that were left in the class.

 

The lecturer suddenly asked - ‘Did you enjoy the class?’ I turned back with a smile and quickly replied, ‘Yes, Doctor! He continued to engage me in a discussion as we descended the stairs. He asked other questions and eventually asked me to follow him to his office where we had a little chat. He started being flirty but I ignored these signs because I was just really excited! I was talking to my lecturer and I already told myself I could meet him for recaps after lectures and he could be my school father.... I was only 16! After our talk, he let me go and told me I could visit anytime I wanted. I was even more excited.    

                                                                     

But the next encounter left me numb. While in his office, he came close to me, squeezed my breasts roughly and went to lock his door. I had become petrified. At that moment, I was scared to my pants but I knew I had to think fast! A thought struck me immediately.

 

‘Doctor it looks like I’m going to be here for long,’ I’d said with a bold and smiling face. I still wonder how I had pulled that off with all the fear in me. Then I’d told him, I wanted to tell my friend waiting for me outside, not to wait for me anymore. He’d laughed as I approached the door, hitting my butt. ‘Good girl!’ he’d said. That was how I’d escaped.

 

Immediately, I left his office, I heaved a deep sigh of relief. I was perplexed because I never believed such could ever happen to me in my second week in the university and especially because I was always modestly dressed. I ran to an isolated place to cry, I did not tell anyone because I was ashamed. I stayed away from him as much as possible. I hardly attended his lectures and even when I did, I occupied the back seats (a position I hated). Luckily, I passed that lecturer’s course. That situation passed by but in my second year, I got more advances from lecturers as well.  Again, I rebuffed them.

 

In my third year, I had a friend whom we attended lectures together. During this year, we both got advances from lecturers. It got to a point that my friend, Natalie had lied to her harasser that she was a lesbian and I was her partner. Of course, this story spread like wild fire and we were safe for the rest of the academic year.

 

I was unaware that I was still about to face my most difficult challenge yet. In the final year in university, it’s only natural that you come in closer contact with your project supervisor, course adviser, and other lecturers. So by default, you have to constantly visit these people’s offices for different purposes. 

 

In my case, 90% of these people that were to guide me to graduation were male. I became even more modest in dressing when going to their offices, avoided eye contact, ensured I did not go to their offices at late hours and observed many precautionary measures to avoid giving out a wrong signal.  

 

Sadly, all my hard work did not pay off as two lecturers kept pestering me for sex; my supervisor and another lecturer from an entirely different department. It was easy to stay away from the one not in my department but it was impossible to stay away from my supervisor. I thought it was business as usual with my supervisor (I could keep stalling till I had nothing to do with him anymore), but it was not....

 

Read Part 2 here...

By Chidera Okehi

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