NGO signs MOU with Nasarawa University to tackle sexual harassment
By Cyril Mbah, Abuja.
Nasarawa State University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a female rights non-governmental organization known as Gender Mobile Initiative Against Sexual Harassment to aggressively tackle cases of sex- for-marks and other forms of intimidation suffered by female students at the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The ceremony, which was presided over by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Suleiman Bala Mohammed and witnessed by management cadre officials of the institution, agreed on a six-month timeline to make measurable impact in reducing or eradicating all forms of sexual harassment at the University.
It was also agreed that monitoring groups and anonymous reporting portals should be established within each faculty were victims of sexual harassment can make complaints without risk to themselves or anyone assisting them to expose the evil practice.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Professor Suleiman Mohammed expressed delight over the agreement stressing that the initiative will further enhance the university’s campaign against antisocial activities making staff and students.
Professor Mohammed assured that the operation will be given wide publicity to enable those engaging in the acts of harassment to know that it is no longer business as usual.
“We thank you for choosing us for this wonderful project. Sexual harassment is a crime and we have zero tolerance for such behavior on our campuses. Sexual harassment has a peculiar challenge because victims often find it difficult to report and I honestly think they require this kind of assistance.
“In fact, we have declared that any lecturer, student or staff involved in any form of sexual harassment will be sanctioned appropriately and this may include expulsion, sack and prosecution. We have launched a whistle-blowing policy and it is yielding results,” he remarked.
He assured the group that the university will key into the programme saying also that reporting and the implementation of guidelines against sexual harassment must go hand-in-hand for the campaign to succeed.
Leader of the group, Sarah Egbo, in-charge of Policy Support said the NGO tracks and reports sexual harassment in tertiary institution to help eradicate the menace which, she said has become so rampant on campuses and working against female students who suffer in silence.
Sarah said the group has developed apps and other compliant portals that will enable victims or anyone who notices sexual harassment cases to discretely report the problems without risk to themselves.
She hoped that every high institution where people are being sexually harassed can take advantage of the services provided by the nongovernmental group to deal with the problem.
The policy support leader said also that the group will recruit and train campus marshals among students to help push the initiative to success.