It is no longer news, BBC’s undercover report released a few days ago had affirmed age long moral disease rampaging our so called citadel of learnings. Two lecturers, one in Ghana and another at the University of Lagos Nigeria were allegedly caught in an uncompromising postures demanding for sexual gratification regarding admission and good grades.
It is not peculiar to Africa, recently published article in ‘The Guardian, UK’ screamed there had been an alarming increase In sexual harrassment within United Kingdom universities as well. The only problem here in Nigeria is that ours is a tradition that covers and blames the innocent. Sexual harrassment is an age long thing within the system. Going through our university system today, average age of an undergraduate is between 16 and 20. So we can affirm, many of the injustices are committed with minors.
Majority of the lecturers involved in this dastardly act can be fathers to some of these students they are harassing. Africans are known with a level of shame. These bad eggs do not know what shame means.
Our media industry too Is not helping the matter. Media Industry is a reflection of the society. No one is doing a thorough job here. No one counts or feels this age long disease deserve real attention. Not many had done quality investigative journalism on this evil prevalent with the higher education system. Thank to British Broadcasting service for this reawakening. It is not just sexual harrassment, lots of financial mismanagement cases within our higher institutions of learnings had been swept under the carpet.
Given the above, our concern as organization has been on upcoming, young and vibrant journalists, within Nigeria and Africa. Developing skills of Campus journalists is important to us. Our major effort in the next one year will be to commence highly impactful and result driven workshops on campus investigative journalism skills aimed at empowering these young media professionals who are still cutting their teeth in the field. We do hope we can make meaningful changes in this.
We do know, the youth forms the future of any sustainable development project. While still young, they can still be modelled, taught, empowered to challenge the status qou. We know taking up this challenge will not be an easy task for them, many campus journalists stand the chance of being harrased or molested or even rusticated from school under flimsy excuses if their investigative journalism begins to ‘shake established tables’. There is a case of one of our campus journalists at the University of Lagos who was rusticated for publishing an article which indicted one of the lecturers in 2017. Till date justice had not been given. It must be stated the university gave other reasons for its action. Our workshop strategy will help in preventing such occurrence.
We hope to teach among other things how a campus journalist in campus A can collaborate with the one in B to jointly produce a report which will be published in a campus based online newspaper project we hope to commission soon. This will reduce the burden of easy access to informant and intimidation at the campus level if the story is published on on a specific campus journalism platform.
Sexual assault does a lot of psychological damage to the abused. Many do not recover after many years. Some of the affected individuals may die before their times. Interested development agencies, gender based organizations or international media rights and skills development organizations are welcome if they want to partner.
A collaborative effort will achieve more. Partnership can be materials, faculty, funding or any other.