Organization, ICPC collaborate to tackle harassment in Tertiary Institutions

A Non-Government Organization in Nigeria, Gender Mobile Initiative, has partnered with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission ICPC, to ensure the implementation of policies addressing sexual harassment in higher education institutions.

The Executive Director of Gender Mobile Initiative, Omowumi Ogunrotimi while speaking at the Conference of Stakeholders on Sexual Harassment Prevention in Tertiary Education Institutions held in Abuja, the nation’s capital, emphasized that the continued partnership with ICPC aims to provide a comprehensive approach to addressing sexual harassment in these institutions, stemming from a mutually reinforcing mandate.

According to her, the partnership with the ICPC is rooted in the ICPC’s mandate to address the issue of abuse of office, including through a gender and power-centered lens.

“That is why we are in collaboration with ICPC to see that the policy we designed together, and this policy I would say, will be a product of extensive community engagement. As far back as 2019, 2020, we had a national conference where we validated this policy with a critical mass of stakeholders in the room across the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education NBTE and even the student community.”

Ogunrotimi explained that the process is all inclusive and centred on leadership, participation, aspiration and experiences of persons who are mostly affected by the structural inequity, and that is the student community

“We really look to moving this forward from here because we know in Nigeria when policies are made, they do not automatically translate into implementation. That is why we have drawn participants from far and wide, over 25 Commissioners of Education from States of the federation to participate in this programme.”

The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Musa Aliyu expressed worry over the rise in incidents of sexual harassment in primary and secondary schools across the country saying that heavy consequences on offenders are meted to offenders the menace would continue to be on the increase.

The head of the anti-corruption agency mentioned that sexual harassment and gender discrimination are hurting the nation’s reputation and urged for a cohesive effort to tackle the issue in higher education institutions with consistency, determination and unity.

“It is sadly interesting to note that sexual harassment, though more notorious in tertiary institutions, is quite rampant in primary and secondary institutions, too”, he said.

He disclosed that the Commission in the spirit of partnership, engaged Gender Mobile Initiative to draft a model policy for tertiary institutions adding that the Federal Ministry of Education approved the policies of the primary and tertiary institutions.

“The policies are not necessarily meant to be adopted word for word by stakeholders. Instead, it is expected that although they may be adopted wholly by any institution that so desires, they should serve as guidelines for what a comprehensive policy should contain”, he added.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy said measures are being put in place to tackle the menace through the establishment of mobile courts for proper prosecution of perpetrators to face the rule of justice

Mrs Kennedy stressed that the Ministry is also working in collaboration with hotel owners to deny access to under aged children from lodging and report any attempts to security operatives to curb the terrible sexual harassment problems

She therefore urged all stakeholders to rise up to the challenge by ensuring that sexual harassment stigmatisation is brought to the barest minimum to address low self esteem among victims.

The event which was organized by the Gender Mobile Initiative in collaboration with ICPC, is aimed at ensuring that the Model Policy for the prevention of sexual harassment in Tertiary Institutions is implemented.

 

 

 

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