By Abdulyassar Abdulhamid
The Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability (CAJA), has revealed that more than half of the population of female students studying in higher institutions in Kano State suffer one form of sexual harassment or another from male academic and non-academic staff.
Executive Director of the centre, Kabiru Saidu Dakata, disclosed this during a virtual conference organized by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) on sexual harassment in higher institutions, in collaboration with Rosa Luxamburg Foundation, West Africa.
The three-hour conference dissected issues bordering on “Knowledge Production, Dialogue Series between Knowledge Production and Body Abuse: Debating Sexual Harassment in Knowledge Production Centres Confirmation in Kano.”
According to Dakata, a recent survey conducted by the centre across universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the State, indicated no less than 51.7 percent of female students have suffered some form of assault, abuse or outright rape in the hands of academic and non-academic staff of their institutions.
He said:”The outcome of the survey indicated 45 percent physical touch or kiss by lecturers, 36 percent vocal request for sex from female students, 10 percent actual sex and 6 percent of rape. We also have percentages for cases of mutual resolution, no evidence to validate allegation and those on investigation.”
He added that in some circumstances female students approach their male lectures for assistance, regretting how lecturers take advantage of the helpless students’ weaknesses to offer sexual commodity in exchange.
He also cited lack of effective channel to report case of sexual, inadequate security to protect students and absence of enabling laws to genuinely punish perpetrators of the heinous acts as major predicament why rapists would never repent.
He added:”Sexual assault and sometimes rape will continue in our higher institutions especially in Kano where we had our survey, for reasons I will advance. There is no proper and effective communication channel where students can safely report cases of assault.
”In some cases when the school authorities announced that we have set up a committee to look into an open case. You will realise the committee will take several months to ramp up their investigation and at the end of the day, its’ either the case is resolved amicably without justice or everything is buried.
”Also, we found out that security in our schools is not very effective to secure female students. You will also realise that our legal instrument lacks the strength to severely met out punishment against rapists, such that will serve as deterrent.”
In his remarks, the Communication officer of CITAD, Mr Ali Sabo, stressed that the centre is advocating for enabling laws to address the increasing trend in sexual assault on female students in the state.