By Styvn Obodoekwe
Concerned about the rising spate of incidents of gender based sexual violence in tertiary institutions across Nigeria, the global human rights organization, Amnesty International, Nigeria has embarked on a project aimed at taking aggressive campaigns against sexual violence to Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Speaking to this publication shortly after a consultative meeting to flag-off the campaign at the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria, Mrs Marsha Nwanne Umeh, Human Rights Education coordinator, Amnesty International Nigeria, in charge of the project disclosed that the project was taken to the universities because universities have been identified as hot spots for sexual based violence. She said the project, which is supported by The Civil Society in Development, Denmark and co-implemented by Amnesty international, Nigeria and Amnesty international, Denmark, seeks to empower youths in universities to fight sexual gender based violence. It is believed that if youths are empowered to channel their energies towards fighting the menace of sexual violence rampant in schools, remarkable results would be achieved.
Addressing the students and other participants at the event, Osai Ojigho, country director of Amnesty International, Nigeria, noted that the rate of sexual gender based violence in the society is worrisome. Explaining different forms of gender based violence, she charged the students to team up against gender based violence, a menace which she said is dangerous to tolerate or accommodate.
Ojigho urged the university authority, dean of the Law Faculty of the university, Enugu State Police Command and the state branch of FIDA to key into the project to rid the society of gender based sexual violence.
In his remark, the dean of the faculty of Law, Prof Nwatu expressed his commitment to ensure the project succeeds in the school. Thanking Amnesty International for bringing the project to the school, he promised to ensure that the human rights department plays its role in the fight against gender based sexual violence..
Representatives of the Police, FIDA and other stakeholders at the event also expressed their support for the project and promised to play active roles in its implementation.
Marsha Nwanne Umeh disclosed that the project intends to establish a human rights clinic where students can handle Sexual Gender Based Violence cases and would be well equipped with the new sexual harassment law in Nigeria