In a suit at the Enugu State High Court, according to the news, a married woman is suing her former employer, a new generation bank (name withheld) for N1 billion “in general and punitive damages” for the trauma she was made to pass through while working for the bank.
The woman, according to the report, was employed as a Priority Sales Support Officer and was later given specific instructions by her employer to sleep with a popular politician for the man to transfer his account to the bank. She refused.
The woman was later assigned to manage a new campaign of proximity banking. This involved taking the services to the customers wherever they may be found. She was urged to go to hotels frequented by the rich and wealthy, where she was expected entice some of the men with her beauty.
According to the details of the lawsuit, she was directed by her boss to wear expensive perfumes, short skirts and other sexually inviting outfits to attract rich men.
She was also given an open check to use a popular hotel, as part of contingency arrangements, should the need arise. But her resolve to uphold her marital vows earned her opprobrium and was forced to resign her appointment with the bank.
Her case is one of scores of Nigerian women who face workplace discrimination and harassment because they refuse to be used as sex baits by their unscrupulous employers.
Government has put an eye on the matter.
A bill, aimed at prohibiting the menace of corporate prostitution has passed through the second reading at the House of Representatives.
When passed into law, it would attempt to reduce, if not remove, the practice of using Nigerian women by banks in manners that make them compromise to meet set targets and to keep their jobs in the process.
‘A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Corporate Prostitution and Exploitation of Women in Corporate and Other Matters Connected Therein’went through a heated debate before it was passed through a voice count that marginally defeated opponents of the bill.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Femi Gbajabiamila, was quoted as saying that: “We have seen where a female bank employee was given a job in January and by September was expected to meet a target of N500 million. It is no longer news that these women are seen everyday parading the corridors of offices knocking on doors, and once let in, some would begin to weep, begging for help to meet their target or they will get sacked.”
In banking sector, in the last few months, there have been revelations of how female bankers were being coerced into promiscuous sexual acts to get targets.
Surprisingly, stakeholders in the banking sector have described the bill as an attempt to label female bankers as prostitutes. This is despite revelation that 80 per cent of female bankers in Nigeria are into ‘corporate prostitution.’
The Chairman, Association of Professional Women Bankers (APWB), Mr Taiwo Ige, in a report, called on members of the House of Representatives to disregard the bill.
While bankers deny the practice of corporate prostitution, a banker who craved anonymity said, “it exists but nobody in the corporate environment will practically mention it. However, it exists by character and action.”
According to the report he blamed it on a procedure they follow in the banking industry called Monthly Performance Report (MPR), whereby a banker would be called by the board and told to account for everything he or she has done so far.
“And for a young lady who was given a target of N300 million to N500 million, she would want to impress for the sake of her job. If such lady could not meet the target and has nobody or connection, she would be humiliated, especially with all sort of questions and executive comments being passed on her. She is also rated based on the target she is given, so she would be under pressure. For that not to happen again, she is would pushed to the wall. So for a lady who does not have the fear of God in her, she would succumb,” the banker said.
According to the source, there is also what is called “Status Target” which every new worker in a bank undergoes.
In the report he said both female and male workers were usually given a status target to meet and “how you meet such target is up to you.”
He said the bank manager would never tell you to go into prostitution but by action and character, the manager is insinuating prostitution. But the lady is mature enough to know what is right because it is believed that anybody that works in a corporate organisation is an adult.
But the source said there were many ways to meet targets without going into prostitution.
He said money could be sourced from financial institutions, pension fund managers, real businessmen, clubs, insurance houses, churches, etc.
According to him, ladies engaged in corporate prostitution are those who see nothing wrong in it.
“That is their way of life that these are people that believe in using their ‘God-Given Gift’ (GGG) to achieve greatness.
“Most organisations are known for using cute and elegant ladies as secretary, customer service attendants, knowing fully well that putting gorgeous ladies in the forefront of any organisation tends to cheer up customers,” the source said.
To him, when it comes to marketing, it does not matter whether a lady is beautiful or not, it is the skill and expertise that matter most.
Another source, who also would not want her name in print, sees it from another point of view.
According to her, the bank managers are not to be blamed because they too are under pressure.
The source, who referred to corporate prostitution as a ‘short cut’ by the female bankers, said the pressure usually comes from the board to the managing director to the executive director who passes it down the ladder to the business development officers commonly known as marketers who are the foot soldiers interacting with customers to bring in deposits.
Though shareholders have always denied that it, the source said it was a marketing strategy in disguise. But she says it is still a matter of choice.
She disclosed that from her experience and observation, ladies that indulge in it end up inflicting pains on themselves. They either contact diseases, unable to settle down and marry or they end up with a broken marriage.
In a telephone interview, Pastor Samuel Adewale of The Apostolic Church (TAC), Olorunda, Ketu, Lagos, condemned the act saying that anything that is not biblical is better for one not to do it. Prostitution is prostitution whether corporate or individual. If any lady finds her self in that predicament, it is better to leave. God that did the first one will surely provide a better one without stress.”
The Acting National President of Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Comrade Sunday Olusoji Salako, referred to the act as unethical and blamed it on the abandonment of banking traditions.
He traced the genesis of corporate prostitution to the bank failure in the 1990s.