Booming trade of sex, money for marks in Cross River varsities

Sorting is a covert word for a bribe given to or received by a lecturer to award undeserved marks to a student. That is the first major language a student is familiarised with on admission into any tertiary institution in Cross River State and indeed, many parts of the country. It is difficult to trace how it started but its usage is quite pervasive among students and lecturers.

The items of sorting are principally sex and money. The trade is so pronounced in the University of Calabar and the University of Cross River State that passing through those two ivory towers without participating in them is like the biblical proverb of a camel passing through the eye of the needle.

The lecturers indulge in a litany of obnoxious practices to make students part with money. They begin with complaints about their poor pay, which most times is irregular and their harsh working conditions all to justify their extortion of money from hapless students.

“There is hardly anyone who has passed through the University of Calabar or Unicross in the past fifteen years without a brush with the sorting practice,” Janet Inyang Edet, a graduate of Unicross said.

Most students however make themselves easy prey by their poor attitude to academic work. Many students do not write tests, classwork, assignments or even attend lectures regularly thereby exposing themselves to being extorted by the teachers. What most lecturers who indulge in this practice do is frighten the students that their poor performance will earn them failure if they do not sort their way out. In a panic, the students are bound to comply.

The lecturers most often do not collect the cash directly. They have agents in each class. If a teacher is taking three classes, he appoints three agents, one in each class. It is the agent who collects the money and hands it over to the lecturer. In the case of sex, if the lecturer fancies a student, he instructs her to pay for a room in a guest house or hotel where they meet. An average sorting sum begins from 20,000 for an A, 15,000 for a B and 10,000 for a C score.

Interestingly, many classes are bloated. A class that is ordinarily meant for sixty students now takes about three hundred students. So, if in a class of three hundred students, one hundred ‘sort’, and in most cases sixty per cent ‘sorts’, one can estimate how much the lecturer makes in a semester of just three months.

However, it would be unfair to say that all the lecturers indulge in this unwholesome act. Some lecturers insist on the students doing the right thing. One example was Dr Akpan of the Political Science Department at Unical. His name so rang a bell for allegedly failing students and this writer visited him some years back in his office with the deluge of complaints from students.

What he simply did was offer the reporter a seat. “It is good you are here. I am holding a project defence for final year students now, just listen to them and conclude for yourself if many of them have what it takes to graduate”. True to his word, it was observed that most of the final-year students couldn’t make much sense of what they had written as “final projects”.

His insistence on standard academic performance before earning a degree in the department first caused him an attack. He was shot while in an evening outing but he miraculously escaped. Next, he was attacked “spiritually” as he claimed, with a stroke which left him in a wheelchair. While he was in that wheelchair he was attacked with a knife which killed him.Cross River varsities

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