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Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Demand Action Against Sexual Harassment, Seek Government Intervention

In a fervent call for action against sexual harassment and intimidation within the institution, students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, took to the streets in protest on Thursday. The demonstration, largely led by female students, centered around their demand for transparency in handling allegations and the release of the Prof. Obi Oguejiofor panel report, which implicated certain faculty members.

The protesters urged the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Esimone, to make the Oguejiofor panel report public, believing that it contained evidence of staff members involved in misconduct. Additionally, they sought the intervention of the Federal Government to address the recurrent issue of sexual harassment that has cast a shadow over the institution.

Expressing their discontent over the inaction against the implicated individuals, the students emphasized their frustration with the lack of accountability. Ugonna, one of the protesting students, questioned why no punitive measures had been taken against those found guilty by previous panels. She highlighted the urgency of the situation, emphasizing that even married women among them were not exempt from harassment.

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The students issued an ultimatum, threatening to disrupt the university’s operations if the Vice Chancellor and the management did not terminate the employment of the accused lecturers within two weeks.

Concerned lecturers, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed their apprehension that if their colleagues involved in such misconduct were not appropriately dealt with, the cycle of harassment would persist.

The lecturers revealed a pattern of leniency from the Vice Chancellor, recounting instances where the implicated staff resorted to dramatic gestures of remorse to escape severe consequences. They lamented the prevailing culture of impunity within the institution.

The university authorities responded by convening a meeting of heads of departments and principal officers to address the crisis. A memo from the Deputy Registrar confirmed the gathering to deliberate on the matter.

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In response to the ongoing controversy, the Vice Chancellor’s Media Aide, Emmanuel Ojukwu, acknowledged the university’s commitment to addressing sexual harassment. He revealed the existence of a sexual harassment committee that treats such matters with strictness. Ojukwu emphasized that the challenge lies in the reluctance of students to testify before the panel, making it difficult to deliver justice effectively.

While the university works to tackle this issue, the protest underscores the need for swift and transparent action to ensure the safety and well-being of students. The demand for accountability echoes beyond the campus walls, highlighting the broader societal call for institutions to address sexual harassment decisively.

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