Kiki Mordi
Kiki Mordi

The BBC’s Kiki Mordi has been awarded the inaugural People Journalism Prize for Africa for her ‘Sex for Grades’ documentary.

Taking to Twitter after receiving her award, she wrote: This one is for #KemiAlabi and the Africa Eye team.

On 7 October 2019, Mordi and her team at the BBC Africa Eye released a 13-minute documentary with an aim to expose sexual harassment of students by lecturers in the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. 

Dr Boniface Igbeneghu of University of Lagos, Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor of the University of Ghana were the lecturers implicated in the viral video that came with the exposé.

Dr Boniface Igbeneghu is a senior lecturer at the faculty of Arts, University of Lagos and a head pastor of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Professor Ransford Gyampo is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor is a lecturer at the College of Education in the University of Ghana.

Mordi, who was disguised as a 17-year-old admission seeker in the video, stated that it took she and her team, nine months to complete the investigation. 

The documentary garnered mixed reactions from Ghana especially with some people condemning the actions of the lecturers while others defended them stating that nothing in the video proved there was an exchange for grades. Others added that Mordi was not a student hence the lecturers could not be implicated.

After the exposé, Professor Ransford Gyampo threatened to sue the BBC. Due to the documentary, the University of Lagos suspended Dr Boniface Igbeneghu and Foursquare Gospel Church asked him to step down from the pulpit.

A “Cold Room” caught in the video where lecturers sexually harass students was shut down by the University of Lagos.

The University of Ghana also launched an investigation after the expose while Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor were asked to suspend teaching activities till the investigations were over.

Prof. Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Butakor were subsequently handed six and four months suspension without pay respectively. 

In an interview with Sahara Reporters, Mordi revealed that she has received subtle threats since concluding the investigation.

Kiki Mordi received her award on February 20 at the just-ended Gage Awards alongside Fisayo Soyombo who was selected for his investigative series that exposed the entrenched nature of corruption within Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

Fisayo spent about two weeks in detention as a “criminal” to bring these stories to the Nigerian public.