Teachers, Lecturers To Sign Form Against Sexual Harassment

By Abimbola Kintum

The Federal Ministries of Justice and Education have instituted a compulsory requirement for teachers and lecturers in educational institutions nationwide to sign the code of conduct form aimed at preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.

The step is one of the strategies implemented to address the concerning increase in incidents of sexual violence within educational institutions nationwide.

According to the recently introduced standard operating procedure for prosecuting perpetrators of gender-based violence cases in schools in Nigeria, established by the Federal Ministries of Justice and Education, it is forbidden for teachers to be involved in intimate relationships with individuals aged between 18 and 24 who are under their direct care.

Teachers are also barred from holding, hugging, or touching students/learners in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way.

In addition, teachers are prohibited from staying in secluded areas alone with students.

The form partly read, “I agree that I will not abuse or exploit students/learners; engage in any form of sexual activity or develop physical/sexual relationships with anyone under the age of 18 outside the school environment. I understand that mistaking the age of the child is not an excuse.

“(I will not) engage in sexual relationships with direct beneficiaries ages 18-24.

“(I will not) engage youth(s) in any form of sexual activity which involves the exchange of money, employment, goods or services for sex. This includes sexual favours or other forms of humiliating or exploitative behaviour.

“(I will not) use language or behave towards a student/learner in a way that is inappropriate, offensive, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning, or culturally inappropriate.

“(I will not) hold, hug, or touch students/learners in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way.

“(I will not) do things of a personal nature for students/learners with whom I am in contact at work that they can do for themselves (for example, taking them to the toilet or helping them get undressed).

“(I will not) spend time alone away from others with students/learners with whom I am in contact at work. I will always make sure that another adult is with me and/or I am with the students/learners in an open public place.”

The government in the SOP also directed learning institutions to create a procedure for recruiting staff members that can detect paedophiles and other perpetrators of sexual offences against students/learners.

The SOP also directed that “the following recruitment process for personnel should be considered:

“Written character references, verification of references, and a signed statement of commitment to the State Ministry of Women in line with the Ministry’s Child Protection Policy.

“An affidavit of good behaviour on interaction with children.

“Background checks, check sex offenders’ register in the states and federal.”

Currently, a University of Calabar Law professor, Cyril Ndifon, is facing trial on accusations of sexually harassing students of the faculty.

An Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s star witness, a diploma graduate of the department, accused Ndifon of demanding her virginity and oral sex in exchange for admission into the LLB programme.


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