Tackling the Shadow: Confronting Sexual Violence in Nigerian Universities

Sexual violence remains a pervasive concern within Nigeria, casting a dark cloud over higher education institutions across the nation. Amidst this troubling scenario, Nigerian universities are grappling with the distressing prevalence of sexual violence on their campuses, tarnishing the sanctity of learning environments. This alarming issue indiscriminately affects a larger population of female students than male, eroding their sense of safety and psychological well-being.

A recent incident at the University of Calabar sheds light on the gravity of the situation. Female students from the Faculty of Law organized a peaceful rally on campus to protest against the Dean, Cyril Ndifon, whom they accused of sexual harassment. A video circulating on social media depicts these students, along with a few male counterparts, passionately voicing their grievances in front of an administrative building.

One placard held by a protester read, “Prof Ndifon, let the girls with big breasts breathe. Stop suffocating us,” highlighting the power dynamics often involved in such cases. The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Florence Obi, responded to the protest, assuring the students that their complaints would be thoroughly investigated and addressed.

This incident underscores the urgency for Nigerian universities to not only institute comprehensive anti-sexual violence policies but also to foster an environment where open conversations, support mechanisms, and gender equality are prioritized. Collaborative efforts between academic institutions, law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, and government bodies are essential to eradicate the specter of sexual violence from Nigerian campuses, ensuring that education can truly thrive in an atmosphere of safety and respect.

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