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Sexual assault at Universities is drastic

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By Nicole

The number of sexual assaults occurring on campus is out of control.

On October 4, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari stated that “sex for grades” and other corrupt practices had reached frightening proportions at the nation’s universities. In 2019, the BBC exposed sexual harassment at two universities in Ghana and Nigeria using an undercover reporter, which sparked discussions on social media about the issue of “sex for grades.” Little, according to critics who charge that the government failed to eradicate the practice, has changed since that time. Buhari, however, stated at an anti-corruption summit in Abuja that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission was investigating and prosecuting cases of sexual harassment and power abuse in educational institutions.

According to Buhari, students have developed terminology to describe various types of corruption on college campuses. Exam malpractice, sex for marks, sex for changing grades, sorting for money, and other practices are all present, according to Buhari. Sexual harassment has reached alarming levels. Other instances of corruption at universities, according to Buhari, include lecturers writing dissertations for students for a fee, paying salaries to people who aren’t there and lecturers working multiple full-time jobs. For better pay and benefits, lecturers at public universities have been on strike for more than seven months. According to Buhari, those who go on protracted strikes for tenuous justifications are just as complicit in undermining government spending on education as those who don’t.

Nigerian Universities encourage sexual harassment of female students.

The investigation, which involved speaking to students from at least eight universities, administrators, lecturers, and representatives of university academic unions from across Nigeria, disclosed a near total ignorance of the issue and lack of willingness to even discuss it. This is in spite of the fact that sexual harassment and sexual assault are extremely common in Nigerian universities. Many times, indicted lecturers and other staff members received nothing more than the directive to stop sinning. Nigerian universities hardly ever dismiss lecturers for sexually harassing female students, with the exception of a few instances involving well-connected students. Universities, including for-profit institutions, have unilaterally rejected calls from campaigners and human rights advocates to enact sexual harassment policies as a way to address the issue.

Nearly all of the students who were interviewed said that they had either experienced sexual harassment or knew of another student who had. The harassment was allegedly committed by a lecturer or other member of the university staff. Many of them admitted that when lecturers or other male students harassed them, they had no idea where to turn or who to confront. All of them expressed a lack of confidence in the university administration’s capacity or willingness to uphold the law in cases of sexual harassment and assault. Nearly every student who reported being sexually harassed said they were afraid of being victimized if they reported it.

The launch of an Anti-Sexual Harassment campaign.

Kabiru Dakata, a member of the consortium and the Executive Director of the Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability (CAJA), made the request in a statement to journalists in Kano after the Anti-Sexual Harassment campaign’s hashtag was released. This is a result of the persistent sexual harassment of female students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. According to a 2018 World Bank Group survey, 70% of female graduates from tertiary institutions in Nigeria reported experiencing sexual harassment from peers and teachers. A group of civil society organizations, including CAJA, Social Action, We the People, and led by Youth Alive Foundation (YAF), conducted research in 19 tertiary institutions across six states in Nigeria. One of the factors that discouraged people from reporting sexual harassment was the lack of clear reporting channels.

By starting the Anti-Sexual Harassment campaign, the Cluster will contribute to resolving some of the issues mentioned as well as to the long-term goals of raising its voice in support of the timely presidential assent of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill, the establishment of an independent sexual harassment prohibition committee in tertiary institutions, and the creation of the “Campaign against Sexual Harassment (CASH)” Club. The Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill was recently signed into law in Nigeria by the National Assembly. The goal of the law is to uphold and protect tertiary institutions’ ethical standards. Additionally, it aims to safeguard students from sexual assault and stop teachers in tertiary institutions from sexually assaulting students.

The campaign needs support of the Social Media Influencers.

However, we use this platform to ask social media influencers, advocates against gender-based violence and all Nigerians who are concerned to support the campaign by spreading the hashtags on both traditional and social media platforms in order to get the bill the presidential seal of approval, said Dakata. With the hashtags #AssentToSexualHarassmentBill, #SayNo2SGBVonCampus, and #EndSexualHarassmentonCampus, the consortium began a campaign against sexual harassment. Members of the consortium comprise of CSO such as Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability (CAJA) Kano State, Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) Abuja, Village Debbo Care Initiative (VDCare) Kaduna State, Sefjamil Media and Development (SMD) Kano State, Joint Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD), Gombe State Chapter, Women`s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP) Lagos State and Connected Development – Akwa Ibom State (CODE).

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