From Lateef Dada, Osogbo

The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, has launched a policy on anti-sexual harassment and warned perpetrators to avoid the menace or face stiff sanctions.

Vice-chancellor of OAU, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, during the launch on the campus, stated that the step was to create a safe learning environment for staff and students.

He said, “While no society is completely devoid of deviants and those who would not conform to accepted norms, OAU will continue to demonstrate and strengthen its resolve on ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment and other social vices.”

Wife of Ekiti State governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, charged tertiary institutions in Nigeria to embrace the policy with a view to reducing the menace in Nigeria’s institutions of learning.

She said every tertiary institution needs a policy on sexual harassment and a zero-tolerance culture, maintaining that leadership of institutions must demonstrate that they are serious about the issue and will not condone a culture of abuse, silence and impunity.

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According to her, “Where there are policies in place to prevent and deal with sexual harassment, they should be implemented to the fullest extent possible. 

‘’This policy should be shared with other tertiary institutions around the country as others work towards establishing models of good practice.”

In her lecture titled “Delivering On Our Mandate: Confronting SGBVA, Ensuring Safe Spaces in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions,” Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade, described gender-based violation as a violation of women’s human rights.

She called for mass sensitization and education of male and female students, staff as well as stakeholders, noting that there must be re-professionalization and motivation of security unit to tackle the menace.

Obilade also charged management of the institution to strengthen the capacity of relevant unit like student affairs, warning female students to stand on their no, whenever there is attempt to harass them.

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