Group Tasks Varsities,  Others to Save Female Students from Sexual Harassment

Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

As part of efforts to save female students from incessant sexual harassment by their lecturers, an NGO, the Nigeria Feminist Forum (NFF) has tasked universities and other institutions of higher learning to prioritise the safety of their female students and staff.

This was contained in a press statement the Media Officer of NFF, Ms. Ada Eze, made available in Lokoja at weekend.

The NFF has consistently condemned sexual harassment in higher institutions and called for comprehensive policy implementation to address the malaise.

It stated that it is deeply troubled by the recent allegations of sexual harassment against Professor Cyril Ndifon of the University of Calabar, Cross River State.

“We strongly condemn any form of sexual harassment and stand in solidarity with the brave female students who have come forward to voice their experiences.

“The suspension of Mr. Ndifon from his position as dean of the Faculty of Law is a necessary step towards addressing the serious allegations against him.

“However, this incident highlights the urgent need for a comprehensive and enforceable sexual harassment policy within higher learning institutions across Nigeria.

“The NFF calls on all universities and higher education institutions to prioritise their students’ and staff’s safety and well-being by implementing clear and robust sexual harassment policies.

“These policies should encompass stringent measures to prevent and address incidents of sexual harassment, ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

“It is deeply concerning that this is not the first time Mr. Ndifon has faced allegations of sexual misconduct.

“NFF noted that the previous suspension in 2015 following accusations of rape raised serious questions about the effectiveness of the measures taken to address such misconduct.

“The lack of clear evidence exonerating him after his 2015 suspension is a cause for alarm and underscores the importance of a transparent and just investigation process.

The NFF urged the University of Calabar and all institutions of higher learning to establish an impartial and expert-led panel to thoroughly investigate the allegations against Mr. Ndifon.

“We also call for the active participation and protection of survivors throughout the investigation, ensuring that their voices are heard and their rights respected.

“Furthermore, the NFF advocates for the establishment of confidential reporting mechanisms, support services, and awareness campaigns aimed at preventing and addressing sexual harassment on campuses.

“It is imperative that a culture of respect, dignity, and equality be fostered within academic environments where everyone can thrive without fear of harassment or discrimination.

“We call upon university administrators, policymakers, and civil society to collaborate in crafting and enforcing comprehensive sexual harassment policies that guarantee the safety and dignity of all individuals within higher education institutions.

“The NFF is committed to supporting initiatives that promote gender equality, address sexual harassment, and create conducive learning environment for all.” 

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