- The conversations concerning sexual harassments in Nigerian educational institutions are still on
- Various groups have called for stiffer measures against offenders in the educational sector
- Say No Campaign has added its voice to the calls and called on the National Assembly to play its part in ending the scourge
Civil society organizations under the Say No Campaign platform have condemned the act of sexual harassment and exploitation by teachers and lecturers against underage female students in tertiary institutions.
The group in a statement sent to Legit.ng by its co-convener, Samson Nwagwu, described the act aa highly irresponsible and criminal while stressing that perpetrators should be made to face the full wrath of the law.
A recently released BBC investigative report tagged #SexForGrades, exposed lecturers in Ghana and Nigeria demanding sex from female reporters who posed as students.
“Although we do not necessarily need the BBC report to know that female students are constantly been sexually harassed in schools, whether primary, secondary or tertiary institutions, because the local media was awash with such stories in our boarding schools as well as universities in recent times in Nigeria.
“Even the security forces, like the Nigerian police, has, time and time again, been accused of such amorous behaviour, demanding sex for bail,” Nwagwu stated.
The group stated that Nigeria is now dealing with the danger of an increasing number of paedophiles and sex-hunters in Nigeria.
“This narrative reeks of a depraved society, and because Nigeria is not depraved, we cannot just glaze it and pretend all is well with our system, society or image.
“Beyond sex offenders themselves, we must examine our systems in these institutions like the schools, the ministry of education, churches and police stations to interrogate how they have aided the breeding culture of sexual harassment in the country,” the group said.
Say No Campaign accused the ministry of education, National University Commission and ASUU, of becoming complicit to sexual harassment and exploitation in educational institutions.
Part of the statement read: “They have consistently remained quiet on cases of sexual exploitation in Nigerian schools; whether against children or young adults in primary, secondary or tertiary schools.
“The Nigerian government has worsened the situation by romancing the issue and failing to set up legislation to adequately deal with sex offenders.
“We, therefore, request the government to mandate every institution of higher learning to set up a gender desk that will receive and act upon reports of sexual offenses from students and female lecturers alike.
“We also call for the strengthening of the internal governance structure in universities to curb abuse of office and avoid unnecessarily influences and interferences with the formation and operations of the student union government.
“Similarly, we request the ministry of education to intensify its supervisory and oversight function in primary and secondary schools and strengthen its internal mechanisms to ensure that sexual predators in these schools are apprehended, retrenched and adequately prosecuted.”
The group further called on the 9th National Assembly to expedite the passage of the sexual harassment bill.
It noted that the bill will provide the appropriate legal framework to curb the menace of sexual harassment.
“We enjoin all government agencies and security forces to be proactive by setting up its gender offenses desk to actively investigate and prosecute sexual offenses reports and offenders.
“It will be a strong message conveying the intolerance of the government to such a depraved act, as well as, force the relevant institutions to become more responsible in protecting the vulnerable members of our society,” the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) has launched an initiative tagged SHE campaign to tackle sexual harassment across the country. SHE stands for Sexual Harassment in Higher Education.
Already, YAF and its partners are implementing the SHE campaign in 5 states and 13 tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
Group launches fresh campaign against sexual harassment | Legit TV