In commemoration of 2018 International Volunteer Day (IVD), the African Students Education Support Initiative (ASESI), has called for improved volunteerism in sensitising and curbing sexual harassment and abuse of girl-child especially in the academic environment in Africa.
ASESI’s Executive Director, Mr Chinonso Obasi, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said it was unfortunate that majority of Africa’s girl-child lived in fear of not being sexually harassed or abused.
The international Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development, commonly referred to as International Volunteer Day (IVD) is an international observance mandated by UN General Assembly in 1985, marked every Dec.5.
“Two months ago, ASESI joined other CSO’s in Nigeria to demand justice for Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, a minor who lost her life through alleged sexual abuse by Mr Andrew Ogaju a lecturer of Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo and his son Victor Ogbuja, a Student of Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi Benue state.
“We have received countless number of cases alleging similar challenge in other institutions of learning in Africa.
“However, ASESI in collaboration with other CSOs and the Human Rights Commission will continue to stand against this barbaric and ugly menace in our society.
“As we join other nongovernmental and civil society organisations today to commemorate 2018 international volunteer day, we call on more volunteers to get involve in sensitising and curbing sexual abuse and molestation against the girl child.
“The demand for sex-for-marks by our lecturers in the institutions of learning in Africa has become one of the greatest threats to educating a girl child in Africa,’’ he said.
Obasi said that another female student, Miss Oko Osinachi, a HND II student of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic Unwana, Ebonyi State, had brought before ASESI, her ordeal with senior lecturer who allegedly attempted to rape her.
He said that ASESI would investigate and unravel the truth with a view to securing justice for the student.
The executive director expressed ASESI’s readiness to assist any African student and encouraged every victim of any form of harassment to speak up before it got late.