A professor of law at the University of Calabar is in trouble for allegedly raping one of his students.
Professor Cyril Ndifon, Dean of the Faculty of Law University of Calabar, was alleged to have sexually assaulted a 20-year-old, 400-level law student from the same university.
This development came on the heels of what appeared to be an overwhelming rise in reported cases of sexual assault and rape of female university students by male members of the academic staff and students across university campuses in Nigeria.
Rape is a crime under the criminal and penal code in Nigeria.
Sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape is a clear violation of Article 3 (4) of the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003), Article 2 (d) of The Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 1979 and Section 24 of the Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2014.
In a statement signed, yesterday, by Geraldyn Ezeakile of the Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF), the organisation said that it was ready to offer its support and expertise to the ASUU, Body of Vice- Chancellors, National Universities Commission (NUC), ministries of education and other policy makers at federal and state levels and police and law enforcement agencies, in developing appropriate skills, standards, protocols and processes to urgently respond to this growing epidemic of sexual violence in education institutions in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that on July 23, 2015, Dr. Akin Baruwa, a lecturer with the University of Lagos, allegedly raped an 18-year-old female admission seeker.
The NFF stated that the vast majority of cases of sexual violence against female university students in Nigeria went unreported for various reasons associated with victim shaming, stigma, character assassination, public backlash and limited access to justice for victims.
The statement added: “In many cases, female students who have reported such cases have been subsequently targeted for reprisal attacks by thugs, cultists or university teachers.
“The mass abuse of female university students in Nigeria is fueled by the lack of a consistent and clear policy by university governing bodies and school authorities concerning sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape of female students. Student handbooks and codes of conduct for staff and students are generally ‘silent’ on this and do not adequately address issues of violence against women. Sexual assaults are hardly mentioned during orientation for first year students neither are there any dedicated channels of redress or support for students who experience this form of violence whilst on campus.
“It is not enough for university authorities to continue to disassociate themselves, single out, disown or suspend individual perpetuators of such grievous crime of gender based violence and abuse of public office and trust without providing any sort of support and care for the victims and their families.”