End Sexual Harassments In Tertiary Institutions Now | Independent Newspapers Limited
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End Sexual Harassments In Tertiary Institutions Now

Sexual Harassment
Posted: Oct 26, 2016 at 8:42 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The recent reports that a senior lecturer with the Ebonyi State University was placed on suspension over an alleged involvement in sexual harassment of students has once more brought to the fore the spate of sexual misconduct, not just in Ebonyi State, but across the country, which needs to be address urgently.

 While addressing Journalists, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education, Professor John Eke, reportedly confirmed the suspension of the lecturer and stated that the ministry was investigating the sex scandal rocking schools across the state. And in what seems to be borne out of frustration, the governor of the state, David Umahi, last week reportedly accused Education inspectors of demanding for sex and money from teachers in the state in exchange for favours. It must be noted that this is not the first time allegations of sexual harassments are coming up in the state. In 2011, for instance, five lecturers from the Ebonyi state College of Education, Ikwo, were reportedly suspended indefinitely for alleged sexual abuse of students and extortion through illegal sell of handouts.

 For sure, the increasing spate of sexual harassments in Ebonyi State is, certainly, a reflection of this dastardly act all over the country. Of course, there have been increased reported cases of sexual harassment or rape occurring in different schools and areas across the country. In fact, there is no day that passes without an incidence of rape or sexual harassment somewhere in the country, particularly in tertiary institutions. Unfortunately, most of these cases do not get reported to the police.

 This is rather unfortunate and must frontally be addressed. It is, indeed, a shame and irresponsible for lecturers who are meant to play important role in mentoring, grooming and building the capacity of these young and vulnerable female students to turn around to take undue advantage of them by demanding sexual gratification. The truth is that sexual harassment is clearly an anathema to what the University system should be all about.

 Regrettably, available research information reveals that there is a seeming neglect of the issue of sexual misconduct in many of these tertiary institutions.  As such, culpable lecturers and students are hardly punished as there is a palpable unwillingness on the part of the tertiary institution authorities to provide justice in cases of sexual harassment or assault. Sometimes the victims keep mute for fear of being victimised. In fact, there have been calls, especially from certain human right groups, for the tertiary institutions to formulate and begin to implement sexual harassment policies with a view to addressing the scourge. Sadly enough, these calls have not yielded any positive results as the menace is on the increase. This has resulted to a situation where most of the sexually harassed female students are oblivious of where or whom to approach when lecturers or other male students harassed them.

 This newspaper believes that not addressing the scourge of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions, even in secondary schools as the case may be, would lead to a situation where the potentials of these young women who fall victim are destroyed. The truth is that the scourge of sexual harassment in Nigerian higher institutions of learning is not only affecting these young women who are the victims but also setting the nation back in its attempt to become a viable nation.

 It is our belief that to end the menace of sexual harassment and assault in the educational institutions in Nigeria, there is need for the authorities in these institutions as well as government at the state and federal levels to take positive actions to stop such inhuman act. They must understand that on the long run, it diminishes the perpetrator and the institution where such crime took place. Indeed, there must be some form of internal mechanism that would see to the investigation and prosecution of guilty individuals within the full weight of the law. The passage of the sexual harassment bill currently before the National Assembly needs to be fast tracked as this could go a long way to stemming the tide of sexual intimidation in these institutions.