Nigerian Professor at Alcorn State University Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Inflicting Harsh Punishments on His Children

Festus Oguhebe, a professor of business at Alcorn State University, the historically black educational institution in Mississippi, has pleaded no contest to charges of child abuse. He has been sentenced to two years in state prison.

Professor Oguhebe was accused of abusing his children with harsh punishments for such offenses as not doing their homework or not observing religious fasts. Oguhebe was accused of whipping his children with extension cords, choking them, and forcing them to sleep outside in the yard. The most bizarre charge involved an allegation that Oguhebe placed his 11-year-old son in the bathtub with his hands bound behind his back. He then poured pepper juice on the boy's eyes, penis, and buttocks and then covered the youth with ants.

In his defense, Professor Oguhebe claimed that he was simply using forms of corporal punishment common in his native country of Nigeria.

A 2004 report by the Geneva-based World Organization Against Torture criticized child punishment practices in Nigeria. The report stated that “torture and ill treatment are inflicted on children in Nigeria on a dangerously large scale.” The report stated that common practices used as corporal punishment are flogging, stoning, whipping, and even amputation.