Sex for Grades (Unical) : Women’s Network Demands Justice

Sex for Grades (Unical) :  Women’s Network Demands Justice
August 24 21:31 2023 Print This Article

Women Networks the  ‘Women Voice and Leadership Project’ of ActionAid Nigeria, funded by Global Affairs Canada have condemned in strong terms the alleged scandal with regards to the unwarranted intimidation and sexual harassment at the University of Calabar (UNICAL) where the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Cyril Ndifon is at the centre of the unfortunate saga as he is being accused of abusive and inappropriate conduct towards hapless female students for grades and meeting up with related school requirements.

Addressing the Media in Calabar today, President Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Ladi Bala, stated that the alleged sexual harassment which is the second so far reported against Prof Cyril Ndifon is not only appalling, disgusting but, unacceptable to put it mildly. This is against the backdrop of the fact that, Prof. Ndifun is not only a senior academic staff but one that has put in over 30 years of service as a lecturer.

It is in the light of these anomalies that we not only call but strongly demand for stringent measures against Prof Ndifon

While we commend the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof Florence Banki and the management team of the Institution for the swift action taken by   suspending Prof Cyril Ndifun over the violations of the well laid rules and regulations of the institution, we however insist and demand for a full and comprehensive investigation into the condemnable matter as well as ensure proper prosecution of Prof Ndifon serve as deterrent to others with similar behavioural pattern and or intention(s).

Towards this end, we urge heads of educational institutions in the country to as a matter of public importance, burrow a leaf from the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL by creating a safe space for girls to voice out against sexual and gender based violence in schools. Such proactive measures will go a long way to create the environment such as the type that empowered the law students of UNICAL to staged a protest and opened up on the constant sexual harassment and abuse of their bodies by lecturers of the institution.

The incidences of sexual and gender based violence is not only percular to UNICAL but, common in most campuses of tertiary institutions and have been going on unhindered due to lack of enabling laws.

This ugly trend if not urgently addressed, is capable of truncating  the educational and self development of girls and women. And taking into cognisance, the already high number of out of school girls, there is no need emphasising the fact that the country cannot afford to risk more girls quitting schools for fear of sexual harassment by some lecturers who are expected to societal role models but, unfortunately are unable to control their animalistic libidos.

It is in this respect that we passionately appeal to Mr President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to as a matter of national concern and interest, kindly assent to the Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational institutions Bill passed by the 9th National Assembly.

Similarly, we strongly  recommend that educational institutions in Nigeria should as a matter of necessity, develop sexual and gender harassment policy to safeguard the dignity of girls with a view to providing safe environment for learning.

Lastly, we wish to applaud the boldness and forthrightness of the female laws students of UNICAL for standing up and speaking against injustice. We therefore appeal to other students facing similar abuses and intimidation to speak up so that the educational system can be cleansed of bad elements.

On our part as Women networks, we pledge to work  assiduously towards the full implementation of women voice and leadership project of ActionAid Nigeria and also work with the gender department of UNICAL to provide the needed psycho social support to survivors of sexual harassment in the school. This way, we shall not only be sending a strong message to the world but give the victims hope for a better future.

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