Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A non-profit, advocacy group, SOFADONDO (SDD) has announced its readiness to fight harassment in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
SDD in a maiden press statement titled signed by its convener, Dr Albert Obiozo to announce the existence of the group, said members of SDD comprising of Nigerian professionals are concerned about the increasing wave of sex for grades/grades for sex in virtually all tertiary institutions in Nigeria and its corresponding effect on decline in education standards and mass number of half-baked graduates in the society.
The statement stated that SDD as a duly registered group is bothered about the problem and is determined to ensure all legitimate steps enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution are taken to curb the menace.
The statement read in part“Sofadondo is a registered organization with a commitment to be the voice of the voiceless, the vulnerable, the oppressed and the downtrodden against all forms of sexual harassment. Our goal is to advocate for justice, fairness and engender a safer society. We are also committed to sensitize the society on the dangers of molestation, intimidation and sexual harassment and stand against same in our institutions of learning and society at large. We would also advocate against the abuse of power, authority and intimidation of citizens by anyone in authority especially against the innocent, oppressed and indigent members of the society. Sofadondo would bring to the public sphere cases of such intimidation and harassment and help find lasting solutions. We urge those that have cases to report to visit our website at www.sofadondo.org, our facebook page and @sofadondo on twitter”
Obiozo while promising that it would treat cases with the diligence it deserves, allayed fears of witch-hunting noting that it would ensure fairness for all parties. It commended authorities of tertiary institutions that have taken steps to investigate cases brought to its attention and solicited for cooperation from management of tertiary institutions to stamp out the ugly trend from Nigerian schools.
“In SDD we shall treat cases with all the seriousness and diligence required. We are not out to witch-hunt anybody or destroy careers. We shall pursue all cases by being fair to all parties. We are aware that lecturers are also victims from female students. We condemn in its entirety reported behaviours of some female students who rather than study hard to pass exams prefer to offer sex for grades to join the crowd of uneducated graduates in the society. Affected lecturers owe it a duty to the school and the society at large to retain the trust vested in them to expose such students so that they can be punished in line with relevant laws of the School.
On the recent cases of harrassment in some tertiary institutions, Obiozo said SDD is following the cases to ensure that none is swept under the carpet. According to him, SDD would work with all relevant law enforcement agencies for prompt prosecution of indicted persons to serve as deterrent to others.