ActionAid Nigeria calls on Senate to revisit, prioritise issues on sexual harassment in tertiary institution

Funmi Lawrence

 

ActionAid Nigeria, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) has condemned in strong terms the gross violation of the rights of female students by lecturers in tertiary institutions across the country.

Speaking on the recent revealing investigative report produced by BBC Africa EYE, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi says in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday said “ActionAid Nigeria is dismayed by the alleged sex scandal involving a senior lecturer of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Obi said the video documentary does not only showcase sexual harassment but also revealed other forms of verbal and physical abuse faced by female students.

According to her, as appalling as it sounds, this case is just one of the many cases across tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

” As an organisation at the forefront of the protection of women and girls, in 2012 ActionAid carried out a safe cities audit of selected Nigerian universities, transport routes, marketplaces and factory sites to ascertain the level of safety, ease of mobility and access to public services for women, and girls.

“A key finding was that Nigerian universities lack gender-specific mechanisms to tackle violence against female students and their peculiarities.

” And this was why we strongly advocated for the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill in 2016, which was passed by the 8th Senate but did not see the light of the day to become a Law.

“The bill had prescribed a 5-year jail term for lecturers and educators convicted of sexual harassment of either male or female students and made provisions for lecturers and educators who may be falsely accused by their students to seek redress,” she said.

Obi, however, commended BBC Africa EYE and encourage more Nigerian journalists to carry out investigative reports that would amplify the voices of vulnerable groups, particularly women, children and young people.

“Considering the foregoing, ActionAid Nigeria, therefore, called on the 9th Senate to revisit the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill.

” We demand that UNILAG authorities activate due process to ensure that the full course of the law is taken thoroughly to investigate and prosecute offenders.

” We also call on other Nigerian University Authorities across the country to take preventive measures and protect students, particularly female students by setting up safe systems that protect survivors and encourage them to report and get justice,” she said.

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