The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for an end to growing sexual abuse and gender-based violence in schools and institutions of higher learning in the country.
Mr Tony Ojukwu, the Executive Secretary of the commission, made the call while fielding questions from newsmen on Thursday in Maiduguri.
Okujkwu said that the menace was becoming an “epidemic”.
He said cases of sexual abuse, assault, harassment and gender based violence occurred with ‘alarming frequencies’ in basic and post basic schools, colleges and tertiary institutions.
“Such cases are happening at every level; people were abused in their homes, work places, schools, universities and even places of worship. We have cases of clergies who abused members of the congregations.
“The menace necessitated the need for a stronger policy and laws to protect the rights of people especially women and children.
“We cannot go to the offices while our children are in schools and we don’t know what is happening to them,” he said.
Ojukwu disclosed that the commission had constituted a panel to investigate recent cases of sexual abuse reported in some schools, adding that the commission will work with the relevant authorities to ensure that the perpetrators were prosecuted.
He added that the commission would push for the prosecution of Dr Boniface Igbeneghu, fingered in the sex for grades scandal at the University of Lagos.
According to him, the commission had organised a two-day sensitisation exercise in Maiduguri on protection of women and children against abuses.
Ojukwu explained that the workshop was designed to promote protection and monitoring of cases of abuse against displaced persons and host communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
The secretary said that the workshop was conducted in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), under the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Monitoring Protection programme.
“The purpose of the interface is to highlight unresolved issues, encourage relevant government agencies and humanitarian actors to make efforts to achieve effective resolution of the problem.
“The interface will further help in highlighting areas and locations where efforts are replicated and how these efforts can be more effectively spread across other areas in need of attention,” he added. (NAN)