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Opinion

Sexual Harassment in Nigeria: many sinners ,one just a Culprit

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Dr Nuraddeen Danjuma

 

 

By Dr Nuraddeen Danjuma

Sexual harassment is any unwanted behavior of a sexual nature that makes you feel offended, uncomfortable, intimidated or humiliated.

In all societies and throughout history, sexual harassment is illegal.

 

It is an unwelcoming act that has been battled with a strong legal framework. Sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is not only happening in Nigerian universities.

 

 

Morley in an article titled “sex, grades, and power in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania” found that “sex-for-grades” is the most common form of harassment students faced on campuses.

 

As reported by CNN a male member of Makerere University (oldest in Uganda) was suspended on the 17th of April, 2018 after a female student accused him of sexual harassment.

Faced with rising cases of sexual harassment in the tertiary institutions, the National Assembly introduced a bill in 2016 with a view to combating sexual harassment and upholds ethics in the nation’s universities.

 

 

The bill has been baked on July, 7th 2020, and now awaiting the assent of Mr. President.

 

 

According to Nigeria’s Senate President, the proposal is “landmark legislation”.

 

Indeed I salute the NASS and wished that the proposal is genuine. I also do hope that the 14 years jail term for teaching staff having sexual relationships with their students is not provided out of selfish and dislike for that category of workers.

 

 

Indeed the bill is biased against the lecturer because such cases are common in all sectors of the country. However, ‘gwano baya jin warin jikinsa’ (bad eggs do not smell the unpleasant ooze).

While it is clear that in the last few years more lecturers are in the ugly habit of sex for grade, Johnson in Sexual Coercion among Young People also reported that about half of women in Nigerian workplaces have at least once experienced sexual harassment at workplace.

 

 

A study by Adejuwon on Attitudes, Norms, and Experiences of Sexual Coercion among Young People showed that 15% of young females reported forced penetrative sexual experience Ibadan, Nigeria.

 

 

Why did the law target university lecturers alone?. Didn’t we know of sex for a grade in secondary schools, colleges and polytechnics?. Without prejudice, aren’t we aware of sex for juicy appointments, transfers, and promotions (civil service, politicians and uniform jobs), sex for lucrative contracts (public or private tender institutions), sex for money deposits (bankers), sex for an acting role (media), buggery, etc.

 

 

Worryingly so, The law is only interested in ‘sex for grades offenses’ while all sins are sins irrespective of who committed them. Isn’t this nepotism?.

 

According to Daniel Alarcon, “nepotism is the lowest and least imaginative form of corruption.” Surprisingly, again, there is no explicit provision in the Nigerian Labour Act 2004 that prohibits sexual harassment or any other kind of harassment in the workplace.

 

 

The closest is the Labor Standards Bill that was submitted to the National Assembly in 2008 which made provision for sexual harassment. However, that has not been passed into law.

According to ASUU President “We do not agree because the bill is biased against lecturers”.

 

He added that the Anti-Sexual harassment bill addresses only universities and gives the impression that that is where the problem is, even though it is pervasive in all sectors – police, prison, civil service, private sector, etc.

 

 

In my opinion, Nigeria should have a law that holistically addresses sexual harassment because the following few pieces of evidence showed that the problem comparatively happened in other sectors.

 

 

The National Population Commission report of 2013 clearly showed that 23 percent of adolescent girls age 15 – 19 years became mothers or pregnant with their first child.

 

 

According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, there are about 2,279 sexual offenses including rape and indecent assault in 2017 in Nigeria.

 

 

In May 2018 four male secondary school students sexually assaulted some of their female peers at Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos, here too in a secondary school to mark end-of-exams (Edeh, Institute of World Current Affairs January 24, 2018).

 

 

A survey published by NOIPolls in July 2019 suggested that up to one in every three girls living in Nigeria could have experienced at least one form of sexual assault by the time they reach 25 years.

 

The cankerworm is everywhere that even in the hospital sexual harassment is committed.

 

 

A friend conducting research on Stigma narrated an ugly story of a female HIV patient that was denied ARV drugs on the simple reason that she didn’t succumb to a pharmacist.

 

The cases below as reported by BBC on 5th June 2020 during the lockdown also buttresses my point: University student in Benin named Uwavera Omozuwa was allegedly raped and dies in a church after her head is smashed with a fire extinguisher; a 12-year-old girl is raped over two months in Jigawa State; Barakat Bello is allegedly gang-raped and murdered in south-west Oyo state; no arrest has been made; a 17-year-old girl is gang-raped in south-west Ekiti State. In an article published by Daily Trust (July 12, 2020),.

 

 

The National Population Commission warned that there is a spike in teen pregnancy in Nigeria in recent months owing to COVID 19 lockdown.

 

The NPC said there had been a noticeable increase in gender-based violence ranging from rape to physical and emotional assaults on girls, abortions, and possible early school dropouts.

 

 

Those are examples of reported cases of sexual harassment outside the universities but shockingly not trending because teachers are not involved. On Monday, July, 13th 2020 a former Acting MD of the NNDC while granting an interview on Arise TV mentioned that she slapped a serving minister over sexual harassment.

 

Nigeria requires a serious commitment to addressing this menace, not just a feeble law that is ‘a day late and a dollar short’. The law has so many flaws and indeed consists of skewed clauses that crucify university lecturers when the decay is evidently societal.

 

 

Evidently, the kangaroo-court law did not cover sexual harassment in the workplace but insisted on the universities.

 

In an interview with journalists, a figure in the NASS stated that “We have to protect our daughters from predators,” “We want our tertiary institutions to be a very safe environment for everyone, and this is legislation that will ensure that wish.

 

How female students in higher institutions suffer Sexual assault- report

As if the other category offenders are saints or the women battered in all sectors of Nigeria are dolls.

 

The law does not also do justice to both parties anyway. What the lawmakers did know or didn’t is that the plaintiffs also harass the dependents. Instead of justice for all, the feeble law provides the only suspension as punishment to students that falsely accused the lecturer of sexual misconduct.

 

 

It also stated that “any professor or teaching staff who sexually abuses student will be jailed for 14 years” as if it is a pre-designed trailed movie by an undercover reporter or a revelation. Indeed if any person is to be tailed, he/she will spill all places with water.

This is quite a good law. However, the NASS should be forward-thinking by passing ensembles of the law for all forms of sexual abuses and all manners of ‘convergence and divergence in all sectors.

 

 

Both the dependent and plaintiff should be treated equally. Criss Jami said, “when I look at a person, I see the person, not rank, not a class, not a title.” Please NASS “We are all equal in the fact that we are all different.” – C. Joybell C.

 

Nuraddeen Danjuma, PhD

Bayero University, Kano

 

Opinion

Harvard University Library Has 20 Million Books- Dr. Yushau

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Dr Muhammad Jameel Yushau

 

By Dr. Muhammad Jameel Yushau

The Harvard University experience is incomplete without discussing the abundant #learning opportunity offered by Harvard University library.

Harvard University has the oldest university library system in the United States. The library was established in 1638 and there are 28 libraries currently under the #university library system. It comprises 20 million books, 700 staff, 6 million digitized and publicly available items, 1 million maps and spatial data sets and 400 million rare items that include photographs, letters and manuscripts as stated by the university library page.

Harvard library

Harvard’s library

The Widener library, which is the largest and located at the Harvard Yard is where I enjoy spending part of my weekend. Widener library is an architectural edifice and a tourist attraction. Many visitors to Massachusetts State visit Widener Library as part of their touristic voyage.

A student is allowed to bring at least four guests to study in the library. So myself and my family utilize this opportunity especially during the weekends.

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The Widener library was named after Harry Elkins Widener, a book collector, businessman and 1907 graduate from Harvard University. He died in the titanic accident of April 1912 along with his father. But his mother survived. The surviving mother gave $2 million grant to start the library in the name of her son. In addition to the 6 million digitized items, there are materials in 450 languages in the library.

Students at the site

Students at the site

Takeaway: The backbone of a university is the quality of its library. Contributing to the library is not the exclusive preserve of the university, but a public responsibility.

Dr Yushau is a candidate for the Mid-Career Master Program in Public Administration, and Editor-in-Chief of Africa Policy Journal

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Opinion

Collective action essential on Climate Change Action

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Jibril Salisu Nainna

 

By Jibril Salisu Na’inna.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s article that was recently published by the Washington post was apt and represents a strong voice of reason not only for Nigeria or Africa, but the whole world.

It is easy to rate it appropriately as an article conveying the right massage for humanity at a time the crisis in Ukraine is deflecting attention from the grim climate changes that are causing despair around the world.

The article has exposed the level of imbalance in some global agendas in which some countries and regions do not show sufficient commitment so long those countries or regions feel less affected by the devastating impact of climate change.

It is indeed true that the big economies are unwilling to stop or reduce their emissions that are responsible for global warming and climate change. And they are also shy of making the requisite agreed financial releases necessary to mitigate the impact of climate change,especially in developing countries.

President Muhammadu Buhari was on point when he advised the rich countries not to create the impression that the world cannot invest in its own safety against climate change.

“Don’t tell Africa that the world cannot afford the climate cost of its hydrocarbons — and then fire up coal stations whenever Europe feels an energy pinch. Don’t tell the poorest in the world that their marginal energy use will break the carbon budget — only to sign off on new domestic permits for oil and gas exploration. It gives the impression your citizens have more of a right to energy than Africans,” he said.

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It can be recalled that the rich countries that contributed most to the climate crisis and pledged that to spend $25 billion by 2025 to boost Africa’s efforts to adapt to climate change as the continent continues to struggle with drought, cyclones and extreme heat, as reported by Africanews.

But they have, sadly, failed to make that promise good.”Governments have repeatedly failed to meet their commitments to the $100 billion fund for climate adaptation and mitigation in the developing world — for the mess their own industries caused.”

 

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt where COP27 is holding has reawaken the consciousness of Africa to demand equal input and enough action with overall sincere commitment to confronting and mitigating the adverse negative effect of climate change facing the world especially the developing and poor countries with very low or no contribution to global carbon emission.

Indeed, Nigeria is not left out of the adverse crisis, the president reminded the world that Nigerian case was not different where he said “Part of my nation is underwater. Seasonal flooding is normal in Nigeria, but not like this. Thirty-four of the country’s 36 states have been affected. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced” it is a verifiable fact, of which Jigawa state of northwestern Nigeria is the most affected state this year.

Nevertheless, for Africa to adopt resolutions of the conference fully enough, countries that made pledges to support developing countries must be committed and any source of survival that must left for the good, must firstly be substituted with an alternative means.

COP 2022 must be a truthful rise to act collectively so as to see more meaning and right actions taken ahead of next conference in 2023.

Jibril Salisu Na’inna is a student and pan Africanist wrote from ABU Zaria.
Jibrilsalisunainna @gmail.com

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Opinion

Intervention Of Elder statesman :Way Out For ASUU- FG Face OFF

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Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

 

Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

The leadership of all University based unions should seek the audience and intervention of General Abdussalami Abubakar regarding the crisis and uncertainty of the Govt to address issues lingering in our Federal Universities, because the Federal government in my opinion, has adopted “competition” as the conflict mechanism tool to defeat ASUU and other University unions, The government is trying to satisfy their own desires at the expense of the other parties.

ASUU had in over the years being going on strikes, whenever they are on strike they table huge demands for the government to look into and addresses them, some of these grievances got considerate hiring by previous regimes and administrations. Part of the successes of ASUU strike overtime gave birth to tertiary intervention fund, which without tetfund intervention our Universities could have been like community public secondary schools.

This time around, the eight month strike had degenerates alot of war of words. looking at the aggressive nature of government ministers on the issue, series of meeting to resolve the strike were proved abortive until the intervention of the speaker of house of representative whom in his capacity and wisdom tried his best, ASUU agrees to back off.

It was apparent that all the striking unions were all tired and some are even ready for a fallback position. But the government in it inhuman nature has refused to give a compassionate attention on the matter by paying backlogs salaries to enable people go back to work, the repercussion had made so many of academic staff having no passion for their jobs anymore.

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Former president Goodluck Jonathan sometimes ago gave a highlight on how he solved the problem of ASUU then, in single day, without doubt we consider the statement of the former President as a challenge posed on President Buhari in order to take clue and expedite measures to resolve the strike issues, but the president gave an absent minded attitude on the lingering issue.

The essence of Government at whatever level is to provide leadership and service to the people. The arrogant nature of both ministers made negotiations deadlocked all times.

Those who think they are too big to serve should not be brought near public offices.

Ministers must not only be suitably qualified for their posts; they must also be willing to serve with all sense of expertise and humility.

With the inability of the ministers to make ASUU- cease fire on these stagnating negotiation and crafty promises, i think the president should re-visit the constitution in order to comprehend his presidential powers and duties accordingly.

 

 

Elder statesmen are seen globally as eminent senior members of a Nation especially : a retired statesman who unofficially advises current leaders. I believe the General can make peace out of these dilemma our Universities are facing. In record we have seen how the General chaired the peace accord committee in 2015 election and without doubt the committee conducted a brilliant work by making the power of incumbency irrelevant and opposition taking over the government.

I think the academics should search for a war veteran like him who has also fulfilled the promise of relinquishing power, perhaps he would advise the government impartially so they would understand.

 

Abdulrahman Joji Adamu
Write from Kano

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