There is a sexual assault crisis of female medical students in UNILAG. Here’s what you need to know 

Sexual assault has been a recurrent issue in Nigerian universities, with the spotlight on the University of Lagos (Unilag), where female students are mostly the target. In the past, there have been cases of a lecturer raping a 20-year old student, a case of gang rape of a 17-year-old female, and also the sex for grade scandal in 2021, which resulted in the termination of several lecturers.

What’s happening now?

In an ongoing case, a 200-level female student of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Science (MBBS) accused Otokiti Oluwagbemileke, a 200-level male student of pharmacy, of sexually assaulting her. She explained in a detailed report the events that took place in March, where she was grabbed, chased, and assaulted by the accused.

Upon receiving the incident report, the school authorities released a public statement detailing intentions to investigate the case and seek justice for the victim. A committee was set up to investigate the case, which resulted in further discoveries. More females have since come forward with their own experiences with the accused, which exposed his repeated acts of sexual assault.

After investigations and a confession from the accused, including a voice recording of the accused stating his intentions to “have sex whether now or in the future” with the victim, the school authorities released another public statement containing the disciplinary actions for the accused, which include:

  1. Fine Payment: Mr Oluwagbemileke was required to pay a fine as determined by the constitution, reflecting the severity of his actions.
  2. Written Apology: He was instructed to draft a letter addressed to all COMPSSAITES, acknowledging his misconduct, expressing genuine remorse, and committing to respectful behaviour.
  3. Guarantor Requirement: He was also tasked with securing a guarantor from the 300L or 400L class who would vouch for his conduct and provide oversight. This individual must also submit a letter to the House affirming their commitment to ensuring Leke’s compliance with behavioural standards.

Female students at the university have also revealed that the university authorities have advised females to stay away from public reading spaces as a means to curb cases of sexual assault.


In a seemingly resolved case, the accused is reported to be contesting for the Face of pharmacy and participating in sporting events even after women complained that they didn’t feel safe around him.

An open-and-close culture of sexual assault cases in Unilag

Further investigations have revealed that the sexual assault of females, especially by male medical students, is a reoccurring culture in Unilag. More sexual assault perpetrators have been exposed, including Adeniran AbdusalamSamuel Adigwe, and Chibueze Nwammah. We hope that more will be revealed as women continue to speak up.

Apart from the reoccurrence of sexual assault by male medical students in Unilag, another reoccurring issue is the University’s decision to open and close the cases quickly to protect the perpetrators. Victims report that the authorities have continually refused to prosecute the offenders.

Disturbing photos of alleged medical students have since circulated the internet, containing texts about being sex-starved by female students and victim shaming. This raises the question of the quality of students in such a sensitive field of study.

Statistics on sexual assault in Nigerian Universities

A recent 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 between sexual abuse (61%) and rape (56%).

Furthermore, the survey revealed that almost 8 in 10 students interviewed (79%) identified “Female Students” as the main victims of rape and sexual abuse or harassment on campuses, while Student Cultists (33%), Fellow Male Students (29%) and Male Lecturers (21%) were identified as the major perpetrators of these reprehensible acts of rape and sexual abuse.

The alarming statistics call for a higher call to action by law enforcement agencies in Nigeria and the government to set preventive and protective measures to ensure the safety of women. This is a developing story.

A petition is ongoing to enforce accountability of sexual harassment cases at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL). You can sign it here


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