Kiki Mordi, the BBC Journalist behind the controversial undercover investigation into sexual harassment in prestigious West African Universities, has defended her work after it came under fierce criticisms from a section of the Ghanaian public, ABC News can report.
Kiki Mordi has insisted that the BBC Africa Eye documentary, titled ‘Sex for grades’, which focused on the University of Ghana and the University of Lagos, Nigeria, was conducted in strict adherence to the code of conduct of and principles laid down by the BBC.
Some people have argued that the content of the ‘Sex for Grade’ documentary does not establish, in any way, lecturers of universities trading sex for grades while others have questioned the quality of work done.
But Kiki Mordi thought otherwise explaining that “It will be difficult for me to describe the methods without spending the whole day but I’ll say that we have a strict BBC editorial policy where our methods are by the book so we spent nine (9) months gathering evidence from various universities, not just in Nigeria and Ghana. Independent journalists in all these cases, gathering evidence before we thought about who we were going or where we were going”
“Our undercover staff were professionals, they always seeking clarity and everything was around academic activities. It was the lecturers themselves who tried to take the conversation away from academia to personal matters. I assure you, the BBC has a very strict editorial guideline and policy that all of these women adhered to at every point in time. I stand by my professional team, we had a team of investigators from Nigeria and Ghana and the women in Ghana did brilliant well, worked by the code of conducts at all time, same thing with Nigeria so BBC has one of strictest code of conducts in the world would not allow unprofessional behavior from our undercover journalist so I stand by them, I stand by whatever they did, I believe in their work and I’m proud of what we did” she added.
Defending the decision of her team not to involve students of the various universities as undercover agents, Kiki Mordi mentioned to Joy FM that it was an attempt to shield the informants and protect the identity of victims from the ‘culture of shaming’ witnessed in many parts of Africa.
“We have a culture of shaming, even in Ghana as well and in Nigeria and in most parts of West Africa that I know. I’ve been a journalist for 6 years and I’ve been in the media and I know all the things that I campaign for including fair report for victims and this is the power of investigation…if people had come out, for years people come out in telling their stories and only end in the victims being shamed and I decided to use my tool as a journalist, my voice and to go in through this face to uncover truth and not putting anybody through anything” she noted.
Responding to claims of entrapment and deliberate scheme by his detractors to bring his name to disrepute articulated by Professor Ransford Gyampo, one of the lecturers accused of trading sex for grades in the documentary, the BBC Journalist explained that there was no such thing as entrapment recorded in her work.
Kiki Mordi disclosed that the team had gathered ‘shocking amount of evidence’ to embark on that sting operation with particular targets in mind.
“It wasn’t entrapment, it was no such thing, again, we didn’t bait any lecturer…before we even considered secret filming or before we considered that this is what we were going to do, we spent all that time gathering evidence around the people that we eventually recorded, like around you, we didn’t randomly target anyone. Anybody that we uncovered in the film is because we had a humongous amount of evidence, even more than you can see in the film…so no, it was not entrapment. The evidence included dozens of interviews with current and former students. We had first-hand accounts of abuse, we had recordings of conversations, we had text messages, screenshots and nobody was led on” she defended.
Meanwhile, management of University of Ghana has asked both lecturers found in compromising situations in the BBC documentary to step aside pending investigations into their conduct.
A statement by the University read, “Given that commitment, the Business and Executive Committee of the University has taken a decision to interdict Prof. Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor, the two lecturers featured in the documentary to allow for further investigations into the matter”
One of the Nigerian Professors implicated in the documentary, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, has also been ordered not to step foot in any academic facility of the institution, including his office or engage in any academic related activities as a lecturer.
The Management of the University said that they have “barred him from the University academic areas while the suspension subsists unless invited by a Panel constituted by the University to investigate the matter.”