ActionAid Nigeria, a social justice non-governmental organization working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria has condemned in strong terms the gross violation of the rights of Female Students by Lecturers in tertiary institutions across the country.
Speaking in Abuja on the recent revealing investigative report produced by BBC Africa EYE, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi says “ActionAid Nigeria is dismayed by the alleged sex scandal involving a Senior Lecturer of the University of Lagos (UNILAG). The video documentary did not only showcase sexual harassment, it revealed other forms of verbal and physical abuse faced by female students, and as appalling as it sounds, this case is just one of the many cases across tertiary institutions in Nigeria. As an organization 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, easy 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 Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill, 2016, 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.
ActionAid Nigeria commends BBC Africa EYE and encourage more Nigerian journalists to carry out investigative reports that will amplify the voices of vulnerable groups, particularly women, children and young people.
Considering the foregoing, ActionAid Nigeria therefore:
- Calls on the 9th Senate to revisit the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill
- Demands that UNILAG Authorities activate due process to ensure that the full course of the law is taken thoroughly to investigate and prosecute offenders.
- 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.
ActionAid Nigeria is a national non-governmental, non-partisan, non-religious, civil society organization and an affiliate member of the ActionAid International Federation with presence in 45 countries. ActionAid Nigeria Safe Cities Campaign focuses on the university environment with the aim of exploring and responding to the issue of safety needs and rights of university students, especially female students. It seeks to support the enactment and implementation of gender inclusive urban policies and legislation that can result in reduction of violence and fear experienced by women and girls in various public spaces.
Nihinlola Ayanda - Communications Coordinator ActionAid Nigeria