The unending allegations of sexual assualt against students in the Nigerian universities by lecturers and even students seem to be like a pandemic with no end in sight. The inability of the tertiary institutions managemental board to bring the perpetrator of these acts to justice have raised a high level of confusion within the general public, if truly the university managemental bodies are against it or they encourage such acts.
Due to the continuous growth of reported cases of this incessant misconduct in the academic space, Ms Omowumi Ogunrotimi, Executive Director and Founder, Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI), an NGO in forefront of campaign against sexual violence made a public announcement when she disclosed that the sexual assualt reporting app will be launched in January in Nigerian tertiary institution. She made this known in Abuja on Monday 23rd of November, 2020 while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kogi State University. She disclosed that when its operation starts fully, the app which is named “Campus Pal”, would help students in tertiary institution report cases of sexual harassment and be sure of efficient response and case management.
The app was built by grants secured from Ford Foundation, an international NGO with special focus on students, lecturers, non-academic staff and people coming to the environment of learning who might not be able to approach the governing council of the institutions or have even approached, but their requests were turned down or neglected which is most likely the case in many aspects.
She said “Institutions will be able to track cases even as a victim making the report. It will also help us to generate data because a lot of times we don’t have data and we don’t know the existing gaps in the institutions of learning. But by having a data, one will also understand at what level people are more vulnerable to sexual harassment; is it more prevalent among student and student or student and faculty”
She also said the app will grant access to students to be able to have access to several information with regards steps to take in cases of sexual assualt. “We also created a platform for students to have access to informational materials because a lot of schools have sexual harassment policy but students don’t even know they have. So this mobile app will help students to access all of these policies that exist on campus. ”
The app had several other functions also, the mobile app will also help a new student in finding accommodation without necessarily going through a middle-man, or ask questions that make them vulnerable in the hands of people already on campus. She explained that over 100 tertiary institutions in the southern and northern part of the country were partnering with them on the app to ensure that sexual violence was eradicated in institutions of learning.
The idea is expected to trickle down into the secondary school also. She made mention of their effort in tackling cases of sexual assualt in secondary schools too. According to her, “We are also working in secondary schools because sexual harassment is a big thing in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. At the moment we are running an intervention in secondary schools in rural communities across Nigeria where we are also creating platforms for students to reports cases and mobilise their communities for development efforts.“