Agency makes case for passage of Anti-Sexual Harassment bill

The UN has called on all journalists, media persons and civil societies to mobilise support for the passage of the Prohibition of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary institutions Bill.

Ms Comfort Lamptey, UN Country Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS, made the call at the People Journalism Prize for Africa award organised by Gatefield in honour of Ms Kiki Mordi, Segun Awosanya and Mr Fisayo Soyombo in Abuja.

Lamptey who was represented by Ms Mercedes Alfa, UN ’s Communications Analyst said that during the 16 Days of Activism in 2019, the European Union (EU) and the United Nation (UN) hosted the Survivor’s Summit in to highlight gender based violence in tertiary institutions.

She said that the summit Kiki Mordi’s documentary and work revealed that the hindrances to understanding the scale of sexual harassment included weak structures for reporting sexual harassment and violence in universities.

The UN Women representative also identifies extreme power imbalance between students and lecturers as well as the stigma-culture that shames victims and survivors as other hindrances.

According to her; ending violence against women and girls is the key priority of the UN Women because they are disproportionately subjected to violence including femicide, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, trafficking, and other harmful practices.

“March 8 is globally recognised as International Women’s Day. In Nigeria, we will be highlighting the entire month as international Women’s Month with a series of activities.

“This is to celebrate the achievements of women in all spheres and fields and highlight the efforts being made to end violence against women and girls.

“In United Nations, we remain committed to supporting the government and people of Nigeria to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,’’ she said.

Lamptey described the People Journalism Prize for Africa as an important vehicle in the new generational landscape of transformation and congratulated the honorees Ms Kiki Mordi and Fisayo Soyombo.

Mr Jude Ilo, Country Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), in his presentation titled `Who is afraid of journalists?’ described the media as the gatekeepers of the society.

Ilo said that the media have always played the role of fighting for the masses since the colonial and post-colonial era even though their lives have always been on the line.

He urged journalists not to relent in helping to hold government accountable; adding that it is the only thing that strengthens democracy without which  the country would be under autocracy.

He congratulated the awardees for helping to light up the country and urged them to continue to be resilient in the face of adversity.

The People Journalism Prize for Africa honoured three investigative reporters Mordi, Segun Awosanya and  Soyombo.

Mordi was honoured for advocating for gender equality especially her ground-breaking documentary, Sex for Grades, which helped give Nigerian women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence, a sense of justice.

Responding, Soyombo who was honoured for going undercover to reveal corruption by officers of the Nigerian Service donated the N500,000 attached to the People Journalism Prize for Africa 2019 (PJPA) to the Service.

Soyombo who reiterated his to his work, said that the money would help in the release of inmates awaiting trial. (NAN)

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