Center….Programme manager,Amnesty International,Shehu Bakare[5th from left], Human rights Educator,Amnesty International Mrs Marsha Nwanne Umeh[6th frm left], Dr Sam Nwatu,Dean faculty of law, Barr Sylvia Abana,FIDA chairperson, Enugu state, among others.
From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
More than fifty students from law faculty,University of Nigeria, Enugu campus[UNEC] were at the weekend inducted by Amnesty International Denmark, in partnership with Amnesty International Nigeria and Civil Society in Development[CISU] after training as human rights clinicians of the university,with major responsibility of acting as whistle blowers to incidences of sexual harassment in the institution,as a gate way of helping the victims secure justice which at the long run will curtail the scourge.
The programme manager, ,Amnesty International,Shehu Bakare, in his speech at the induction ceremony, held at Ingrace Event Center,Independence layout, Enugu,described sexual harassment in Nigerian universities as a pandemic which very on the high side,but unfortunately not much is done to curtail it. He lamented that while the victims suffer all kinds of pathological defects, the incidences are under reported with less actions taken against the perpetrators.
He said the initiative by Amnesty international to train student volunteers towards fighting the scourge will in no small measure curtail the social vice, even if it fails to eradicate the ugly trend within a short period.
According to him,research conducted by United Nations[UN] proved that one out of every three female students in 27 Asian and African countries including Nigeria, are harassed sexually. while one out of every ten male students fall victim to the growing scourge. He said there are reports of students who could not finish their studies because of the psychological trauma they incurred as victims of sexual harassment.
He disclosed that Amnesty International in partnership with Civil Society in Development, as non governmental organizations,bought into the project to fight the ugly phenomenon because of the serious danger it portends to humanity
Speaking,the Human Rights Educator,Amnesty International, Mrs Marsha Nwanne Umeh, who also facilitated the training,said the initiative is all about the empowerment of young minds to contribute their quota in fighting sexual harassment and other sexually related vices in Nigerian universities. She said the inductees will be provided with some of the basic tools that will guide and facilitate their duties as whistleblowers, especially providing information that will link victims on how they will secure justice.
She disclosed that the training and induction of some students of University of Nigeria,Enugu campus[UNEC] is part of the pilot project among selected Nigerian Universities across the six zones of the country,stating they are hoping to take the exercise to University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University,Zaria, University of Lagos etc, in no distant time.
The Dean Faculty of Law,University of Nigeria,Enugu Campus[UNEC], Dr Sam Nwatu, expressed gratitude to the students of Law facultty, who formed the bulk of the inductees, for believing in the project, as a drastic step in curtailing sexual violence in Nigerian Universities.
His words,’ Any person who pretends that sexual harassment does not exist in Nigerian universities is making a denial. It is something we all must come together to fight.’
He disclosed that he has provided a space for the take off the initiative in the law faculty and is very happy that many of the staff has volunteered to support the project. He promised that the law faculty of University of Nigeria will develop a blue print that will serve as a reference point for other faculties in projecting the fight against sexual harassment in University of Nigeria, in general.
Many non governmental organizations [NGO] based in Enugu or have branches in Enugu sent their representatives to witness the induction ceremony of UNEC students who were trained by Amnesty International Denmark in partnership with Civil Society in Development[CISU,]Denmark,to fight sexual violence in their students. The organizations include Women Aids Collective[WACOL], Federated Association of Women Lawyers[FIDA],Enugu state chapter,represented by their chairperson,Barr Sylvia Abana,among others.