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Anthony Asekhauno, the accused lecturer of rape at UNIBEN

28.05.2024 Featured Harassment in First Year, Rape in Final Year: How Philosophy Lecturer Anthony Asekhauno Drove Ex-UNIBEN Student Into Depression

Published 28th May, 2024

By Abimbola Abatta

When Debbie Moringa (not real name) began her studies at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in January 2014, she never imagined that a lecturer would rape her in her final year.

However, this happened in 2018, when Anthony Asekhauno, a lecturer in the department of philosophy at UNIBEN, committed the crime.

“If anyone had told me this would happen, I would have said ‘God forbid’. I would have bound and cast and said something self-deprecating about how I wasn’t the most beautiful and I was too skinny for them (the lecturers),” Moringa told FIJ.

“I got into university at 18, and he raped me at 21/22 in my final year. He should be in his forties then.”

FIJ learned that the rape did not just happen. While Moringa was in her first year, Asekhauno started with random verbal and physical harassment during classes and in the faculty. Apart from his inappropriate comments, he would often stare at Moringa lasciviously.

READ ALSO: Frank Enor, Maxwell Eba… UNICAL Students Name More Sex-for-Grade Lecturers

Then the lecturer made her fail one of his courses three times because she refused to go out with him, even though, according to Moringa, the lecturer never asked her out explicitly.

“In my final year, he said to me at least twice that I had been ‘running away’ from him, but he never really asked me out full-time,” she said.

“By 300 level, I knew why I was failing that course, but it was mostly because he would say stuff like that in passing.”

Anthony Asekhauno, the accused lecturer
The lecturer

‘RAPE DROVE ME INTO DEPRESSION’

The rape happened in 2018, during Moringa’s final year in UNIBEN. It happened on the day she wrote Logic again for the fourth time. Moringa told FIJ that it happened in his office.

“He locked the door, pushed me down, held me down with his body on a desk and had his way. He forced me to sit and wait behind, then took me to the staff club,” she added.

Reflecting on how the ordeal affected her while in school, she said she hated most of the lecturers and kept her interactions with them to a minimum. The ordeal, she revealed, drove her into depression and suicide thoughts.

Worse, she could not report it to the school authorities because lecturers like Asekhauno had always been protected by the school.

“The school has protected him and others like him. They protect them. He’s not the only randy lecturer. He’s just one of the ugliest and randiest. I never reported until I spoke out during sex for grades in 2019. The school has never done anything,” said Moringa.

READ ALSO: Young Lawyers Accuse Harlem Solicitors’ Principal Partner of Sexual Harassment, Exploitation

If there’s one thing Moringa wishes the school had done to protect and help students like her, it is justice. “I wish the school would bring us justice, have them prosecuted, help us through therapy and make the place hard for abusers,” she said.

ME-TOO ACCOUNTS FROM MORE EX-STUDENTS

Asekhauno’s name came into the limelight days ago, when former female students of UNIBEN took to X to share experiences of sexual harassment and intimidation at the hands of this lecturer.

“That man Tony Asekhuno is the major reason I have not gone to collect my certificate! A very useless and unfortunate man!” @Mercy_McQuin, an X user, wrote.

Mercy said the lecturer first approached her during an exam period in her final year. Asekhauno had sent for her through a male student. On getting to his office, he showed her her unmarked script and said he wanted to see her before marking it.

She revealed: “I met other girls in his office that day. This man told me he wanted to see me before marking it, and that I had been avoiding him all these years. He said I would explain why I’d been avoiding him. This man kept me and the other girls in his office talking, drinking and being stupid. He made sure I stayed in his office till 6 in the evening and said I was going with him to the staff club (I didn’t know what it was or what they did there).

“I begged this man and told him that I just came to pick up some materials and was not prepared for any kind of walk. This man ignored me. One of the girls there quietly told me to just follow him that they were also going with him and I did not want to get him angry. I maintained myself because my script had not been marked. I am traumatised all over again just by remembering.

“Is it when this man flashed his smelling, dirty little dick at me in his office? Or when this man asked me to call him “Erama” because he discovered his wife came from my hometown and said that’s what they call elders in my place or whatever that means. Or is it when I will save money just to buy this man alcohol so he wouldn’t even think of wanting to sleep with me? Or is it when I almost paid hook-up girls to help me sleep with him so he wouldn’t reason my side? Is it when this man tried to kiss me with his dirty and smelly mouth? Or is it when this man will tell me he has slept with almost all the girls in my department and I was nothing special? Or is it the constant reminder from this man that I can never graduate without his input? Whatever God wants to do on this earth, all I know is that he must punish and publicly embarrass that man called Tony Asekhuno!”

@kulkitten, another X user, wrote, “Anytime I see stories like this, I don’t even need to think twice to know it has to be Uniben. Uniben lecturers are one of the most disgusting and evil pathetic lots. The trauma that the school and its lecturers have given people is just too hot to handle. I wish them death all the time.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian Lecturer Sacked by Ugandan University Amid Sex-for-Marks Scandal

“When my friend used to call Tony a cool guy and he was always trying to help her, I used to tell her to be careful, till the bastard groped her in his office. There are some memories I have blanked out of that rubbish Uniben sha,” @crispyrubino wrote.

@maxvayshia wrote: “Anthony Asekhuno was my philosophy and logic lecturer who later became a friend as I was one of his best students, until he started disturbing my then girlfriend who was a potential first-class student of philosophy. Despite knowing she was my girlfriend, he didn’t stop. I cut ties with him because he broke the bro code unapologetically. I honestly don’t doubt the allegations against him.”

SILENCE FROM UNIBEN

On Tuesday, FIJ sent an email to the University of Benin, but no response was received.

When FIJ called the accused lecturer on Tuesday, he did not deny or confirm the allegations. He simply said, “I heard it. I read it. Have you witnessed UNIBEN’s pronouncement on this matter? Try and get to it. So that at the end of their pronouncement, you and I can see.”

* Pseudonym was used in this report to protect the survivor.

Abimbola Abatta is a reporter with FIJ writing reports in partnership with Report for the World which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.

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Published 28th May, 2024

By Abimbola Abatta

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