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July 17, 2024

Experts demand sexual harassment policy in Nigerian tertiary institutions

By Khadijah Aliyu 

Media editors in Nigeria converged for a one-day residential consultation in collaboration with Alliances for Africa towards addressing sexual harassment in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Thirty journalists were selected from various media organizations across Anambra, Rivers Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Imo, Plateau, Nasarawa, Oyo, Delta, Lagos and the federal capital territory Abuja.

According to the participants media houses, administrators of tertiary institutions, faculty staff, students, government agencies, regulatory agencies, civil society organizations, religious and traditional institutions have a vital role to play through collaboration.

They noted that Sexual harassment is prevalent in Nigerian tertiary institutions, with immediate and long-term effects on the victims and survivors, students, staff and the institution at large.

Other recommendations include women’s inclusivity, Media advocacy, including traditional commercials and social media campaigns, to push for the assentation of the anti-sexual harassment bill, and annual documentation of reported cases of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions among others.

“We call on government agencies and other relevant bodies to provide the necessary support and resources to ensure the successful implementation of these resolutions”

The Executive Director of the Non-Governmental Organisation, Alliances For Africa (AfA), Iheoma Obibi pointed out, that research conducted by her organization in two universities indicates that about 70 per cent of students have experienced a form of sexual harassment. She explained that the survey would be conducted in 12 more universities and the results formally presented to the government.

According to her AfA is executing a three-year pilot scheme on the prevention of sexual harassment in 12 universities across the six-geo political zones in collaboration with the universities’ Centres for Gender Studies.

Mr Obibi hinted that an effective sexual harassment policy in Nigerian tertiary institutions would go a long way in curbing the menace.

“A lot of universities have sexual harassment policies, but when we looked at them they are not worth the paper they were written on. The policies had no clear referral or reporting pathway”

Arise TV Senior editor and media facilitator Mr Tobi Soniyi described sexual harassment as an epidemic that has contributed to a lack of retention and completion of education.

He urged the media to support the campaign on safety and a conducive learning environment for Nigerian students.

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Mustapha Salisu

Mustapha Salisu is a graduate of BSc. Information and Media Studies from Bayero University Kano, with experience in Communication Skills as well as Public Relations.

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