The Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI), along with students in 50 tertiary institutions, has launched a campaign to donate pens to the office of the president in a bid to assent to the bill that promotes and protects ethical standards in tertiary institutions.
The ‘Donate a Pen to Mr. President’ campaign seeks to draw President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s attention to the anti-sexual harassment bill on his desk. The bill passed in 2019 by the National Assembly and sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and 106 senators highlights three main objectives of the bill. The bill aims to provide for the following:
- protection of students against sexual harassment by educators in tertiary educational institutions;
- prevention of sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary educational institutions
- redressal of complaints of sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary educational institutions
After four years of pleading with past president Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill to no avail, the Gender Mobile Initiative has now commenced a campaign to donate pens to the office of the current president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. According to Tribute Online, the organisers of this campaign stated that it will address what they believe to be the most immediate obstacle: the shortage of pens at the president’s table.
This campaign highlights the social endemic that is prevalent in Nigerian tertiary institutions and pushes for a safe and conducive learning environment without students being subjected to sexual harassment, directly or indirectly, from tertiary educators.
The Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill was initially introduced in 2016 and met significant opposition, but it was eventually reintroduced as a result of the tireless campaigning work of numerous organisations.
In a statement made by Omowunmi Ogunrotimi, the lead director of the Gender Mobile Initiative, she stressed the importance of the bill and why the president must assent to it with immediate effect.
“Time is ticking, and the bill is stuck on the president’s table. It cannot wait any longer. We believe that the cost of education should not include sexual harassment.”
This campaign reflects the determination, hope, and belief of students in Nigerian tertiary institutions that their institutions can become conducive places of learning without fear of sexual harassment.