The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, has lamented the high prevalence of sexual harassment in Nigerian schools, especially tertiary institutions.
Owasanoye spoke today, at a one-day sensitization workshop on sexual harassment for tertiary education institutions organised by the ICPC in Keffi, Nasarawa State, reports Daily Sun.
Represented by the ICPC Spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, he said that a study conducted by the Commission, revealed that Sex-for-Grades” was a major problem that persists in both tertiary and secondary schools in the country.
“This was found to be extremely rampant, not only in universities and tertiary institutions, but even secondary schools as well.
“Wherever it is found, it creates a hostile learning environment for students and affects their emotional well-being as the ones from whom they expect protection and assistance are the ones from whom they experience intimidation and threats. This puts an emotional burden on them which affects their performance in school.” He stated.
Owasanoye noted that the ICPC, determined to put a stop on this, initiated the Sexual Harassment Unit with a focus on prevention of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary and Secondary Institutions in Nigeria in order to address the issue of sexual gratification and abuse of office and power by officials.
He further explained that the purpose of the workshop was to educate the students about how to easily contact the ICPC, report incidents of sexual harassment, and gather evidence in a way that will support the Commission’s investigations.
“Right now, the Commission has filed charges against a certain professor in the University of Calabar for sexual harassment. This is possible due to the bravery of the students who reported the issues to ICPC.
“We want those of you present to be courageous and speak up against this menace. And in this forum, you will be exposed to how you can do this. About 4 students reported cases against the suspect. They must have had the support of their friends and family. “Be that friend that encourages others to speak up and provide support for your friends when they do. Don’t join to mock and demonize victims.
“That is the purpose of this meeting. It is expected that the interaction at this forum will not only enlighten you on the topics to be discussed and there are indeed a lot of topics to be discussed here today) but will also address questions you might have on the topic,” he added.