Sexual harassment: FG to establish mobile courts

Sexual harassment: FG to establish mobile courts

Sexual harassment: fg to establish mobile courtsThe Federal Government is to establish mobile courts to attend to issues relating to sexual harassment.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye made this known at a one-day National Stakeholder’s Engagement on Sexual Harassment Prevention on Tuesday in Abuja.

The event was organized by the ICPC in collaboration with the Gender Mobile Initiative.

She decried the high rate of sexual harassment especially in tertiary institutions across the country but added that the measures are being put in place would tackle the menace.

“Sexual harassment is not relegated to tertiary institutions alone but even in primary and secondary schools which are often carried out by teachers and sometimes among pupils.

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“We are also working in collaboration with hotel owners to deny access to under aged children from lodging and report any of such attempts to security operatives to curb the terrible sexual harassment problems.

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

Speaking , the Chairman of the ICPC, Dr Musa Aliyu Aliyu, raised the concern that until there is heavy consequences on offenders, the menace would continue to be on the increase.

Aliyu, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) noted that sexual harassment and other related societal ills including gender discrimination are tarnishing the nation’s reputation.

“Only a consistent, persistent, focused and united campaign can ensure that the challenge of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is decisively addressed.

“ICPC had few years ago, in line with its commitment to addressing all forms of corruption, including abuse of office via sexual harassment, with the support of the Ford Foundation, executed a project aimed at curbing this societal malaise.

“One of the expected outcomes of that project was the drafting of model anti-sexual harassment policies for various levels of educational institutions,’’ he said.

He said that the commission engaged Gender Mobile Initiative to draft a model policy for tertiary institutions which the Federal Ministry of Education approved the policies for 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 reminded participants to always keep in mind that anyone, irrespective of status, designation, or gender, staff or student, can be a victim of sexual harassment, likewise, anyone could be a perpetrator.

“It is a notorious fact that Nigeria has so many laws and policies, but many of them are not being correctly implemented.

“Therefore, proper implementation of the model policies cannot be over-emphasized. The success of this initiative largely depends on the active participation and commitment of stakeholders,’’.

The founder and Executive Director of Gender Mobile Initiative, Omowumi Ogunrotimi urged stakeholders to think about prevention framework than response framework.

“That is why we are in collaboration with ICPC to see that the policy we designed together will be a product of extensive community engagement.

“As far back as 2019, 2020, we had a national conference where we validated this policy.

“This was 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.

“The policies centre 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.