70% of female tertiary education students suffer sexual harassment—NGOs


By Ismail Auwal

A group of Non-Governmental Organisations under the aegis of the Anti-sexual Harassment Advocacy Cluster (AHAC), has claimed that 70% of female graduates from Nigerian tertiary institutions had been sexually harassed in school, mostly by classmates and instructors.

AHAC which is a consortium of different Civil Society of Organizations working to address the prevalence of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, in a press statement signed by Comrade Kabiru Dakata said the lack of clear reporting channels in the institution is one of the factors discouraging from reporting incidents of sexual harassment.

According to the group, a survey conducted showed that 56% of respondents said there were no clear channels to report sexual harassment in their institutions, and they were unaware of any law protecting them against sexual harrasment on campus.

The group solicit the support of the Social Media Influencers, gender-based violence activists and all concerned Nigerians, to support the campaign by promoting the Hashtags to get wider spread on both conventional and social media platforms, to have a Presidential Assent to the bill. 
The Anti-Sexual Harassment  bill was sponsored by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and 57 other senators in 2016. The 8th Assembly of the Senate (2015-2019) had passed the bill, but it was rejected by the House of Representatives when it was sent for concurrence.

However, it was reintroduced to the Senate in October 2019 (current 9th assembly) by the same senator, two days after a BBC documentary exposed two lecturers of the University of Lagos, and a lecturer of the University of Ghana for sexual harassment. The documentary sparked reactions from many Nigerians who described the issue as a norm in Nigerian universities.

The Senate passed the bill in July 2020, and it has been recently passed in the House of Representatives, by way of concurrence with senate.   

Members of the group include 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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