The Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI) has claimed that 70 per cent of female graduates from Nigerian tertiary institutions have been subjected to one form of sexual harassment or the other.
The Lead Director, GMI, Ms Omowunmi Ogunrotimi stated this at a news conference in commemoration of the 16 days of activism in Abuja on Monday.
Ogunrotimi said: ‘’The distressing figures are not merely statistics, but represent the live experiences of countless young women whose educational journey has been marred by the insidious specter of harassment.
“Access to education is a fundamental right that must be safeguarded, but the true essence of education goes beyond mere access. It encompasses a holistic experience that includes a safe and supportive learning environment.
“The fight against sexual harassment is not a separate battle but an integral part of ensuring that the educational journey of everyone, particularly women and girls is enriching, empowering, and free from violence,’’ she said.
Ogunrotimi added: “Addressing sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is not just a moral imperative but a national emergency that demands swift and decisive action.
“As we commemorate the 16 days of activism, our hope is anchored in the belief that immediate action from President Bola Tinubu, specifically the prompt signing of the Sexual harassment prohibition in Tertiary Education Institutions bill.”
The initiative, therefore, called on President Bola Tinubu, to sign the sexual harassment prohibition bill into law.
Ogunrotimi added that the bill was a comprehensive legal framework that criminalized sexual harassment in tertiary educational institutions.
According to her, the bill was introduced by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta) in 2016, but failed to fly, it was reintroduced in 2023 with the help of some Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders.
She added that it was passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and subsequently transmitted for presidential assent two months ago.
“The bill is important and the objective of the bill is to ensure there is promotion and protection of educator-student relationships,” she said.