By Hassana Yakubu
Kaduna – The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kaduna State Chapter, has urged female victims of sexual abuse in universities and other tertiary institutions to speak out in order to put a stop to the ugly trend.
The association said it will give legal cover to the victims and ensure that lecturers sexually exploiting and molesting their students are prosecuted and jailed.
It’s time for victims to name such lecturers and others in the system, the Chairperson of FIDA in the state, Mrs Zainab Atoba said in an interview.
” Our call is for all the student who have this kind of problem to come and speak out, if they don’t speak out we won’t be able to know what is happening for us to even come in to intervene on their behalf.
“We as FIDA our primary responsibility is protection, preservation and promotions of right of women and children where issue of sexual harassment occurs.
“If it is not brought to our notice there is no way we will know and for us to come out and carry out our function.”
According to her FIDA has been carrying out a lot of sensitization especially on issues of rape defilement, sexual harassment and abuses of all kind whether to women, the girl child or boys.
” So if these kind of things are happening and it’s not unveiling we wont be able to do anything,” she said.
Atoba said the issue of sex for marks in higher institutions of learning is very disturbing and has been going on for quite sometimes.
“We are vehemently in opposition to this kind of issue happening in all the higher institutions.
“Even in secondary schools we have incidences of teachers trying to sexually abuse students, to sleep with them so as pass exams.
“It has been happening for a very long time, we are happy that students are now coming out to mention it to the hearing of everybody.
“Before now, students are afraid to voice out what was happing to them. We have a case of a professor that is in prison now for rape of a student in his office.”
According to her, FIDA is working with various groups tracking cases of all form of violence and abuse against girls and boys in the state.
On the ongoing investigation of a lecturer at Kaduna State University, accused of sexually exploiting his students, Atoba said FIDA would keep tabs on the outcome and ensure justice is done to the victims.
Similarly, Hajiya Rabi Salisu of Arida Foundation, an NGO, decried the situation were lecturers demand for sex to give marks to students.
She called on government to take the issue more seriously and ensure that the perpetrators were severely published.
“Parent should be very open to their children so that they can feel free to tell them what is happening with them in the institutions, ” she said.
She also advised victims to feel free to report such abuses and for the society to stop the habit of victimising the victims,”so that they can be free to say their mind, as without them coming out, the perpetrators will not be brought to book.”
Salisu stressed the need for Non Governmental Organisations to engage on more sensitization on sexual abuse.
“The media also have a great role to play in sensitizing the people,” she added.