Buhari Bemoans Sexual Harassment in Schools, Calls for Tougher Sanction

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  • Commends BBC undercover report on UNILAG

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja called for stricter laws against sexual harassment in Nigerian schools.

Reacting to recent revelations of sexual harassment in institutions of higher learning in the country, Buhari said he was glad that the undercover news reporting at the University of Lagos had spurred an amendment to extant laws in the National Assembly. 

According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, the president said such proposed amendments by the legislature would get his support as long as they conform to the Nigerian Constitution.

“The country must do more to address incidents of sexual violence, sexual abuses in our schools, discrimination, human trafficking and cultural practices that violate women’s rights,” the president was quoted as saying.

The statement further added that Buhari urged law enforcement agencies and school administrators to take up such cases with seriousness and ensure that perpetrators face the consequences of their actions.

Shehu also said the president advised victims of sexual harassment not to die in silence but to report to appropriate authorities.

“Survivors and their families must avoid cover up. They should be encouraged to come forth and report cases of abuses wherever and whenever they occur,” the president was further quoted as saying.

Also yesterday, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, called for urgent action to protect the girl child from abuses. Aisha in a tweet to commemorate the International Day of the Girl-child in Abuja stressed the need for parents to protect their children from all forms of violence and abuses. The theme of the 2019 celebration is Girl Force: “Unscripted and Unstoppable.”

NAN reports that the day, which was declared by the United Nations, was first celebrated on October 11, 2012.

October 11 is dedicated to calling for more opportunities for girls and increasing awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based on their gender.

The celebration of the day also reflects on the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research.

“Today, I join millions of girls around the world to celebrate this year’s International Day of the Girl-child. The theme for this year’s celebration is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable,” she tweeted.

The wife of the President expressed appreciation on the progress made in terms of advocacy by women groups on the need to protect girls and women against any form of gender-based violence.

“I am happy to note the progress that has been made in the area of activism by girls to protect their gender.

“I want to state that more needs to be done especially to address gender-based violence, which seems to be more pronounced recently and all hands must be on deck to achieve this,” she said.