In a bid to protect the rights of students against forms of victimization and harassment within the Nigerian tertiary institution, the Help Foundation has proposed to launch the Students’ Right Bill to protect rights, provide conducive learning and living environment for students on campus.
Help Foundation is an organization established by Olympus Ade-Banjo in 2018, a graduate of Physiology from the University of Ilorin, who is now a professional in public health and data, sciences, Ayotunde Omole, a graduate of Medicine and Surgery and Oluwadamilare Bajela a Gateway Polytechnic ex-scholar who now works at Koladaisi University in Ibadan as an accountant.
The Students’ Bill of Rights is a legislative document that will declare and protect the rights of students within the educational institutions, most especially at the tertiary level. There are various movements for the Bill of Students Rights across the world which include Romania which is considered as the safest country for students for legislating the most robust Bill of Students’ Rights.
While speaking with the founder of Help Foundation, Olympus Ade-Banjo, he explained that what inspired him to propose the implementation of the Students’ Right Bill is that he could not stand the high level of victimization the students face on campus, which includes sexual harassment, physical abuse and police brutality coupled with lack of conducive learning and living environments for students.
“Everyone will agree that Nigeria’s higher education needs an overhaul. The Students’ Bill of Rights is the harbinger of that debate. The bill will redirect the focus of our higher education institutions and necessitate global standards of delivery. Just imagine having a Harvard-like education experience in Nigeria. It will impact every fibre of our society,” he explained.
He, however, noted that the foundation is proposing it to the National Assembly and are being optimistic that deliberation will succeed.
When he was asked about the procedures they are taking to implement the bill, he said:
“We will commence a holistic stakeholder engagement on the implementation of the demands of the bill. Engagement with key sectors and stakeholders for a memorandum of action. Partnership with legal aid council of Nigeria and other civil societies for the provision of free legal services for students when their rights are violated.”
He strengthened that the implementation of this bill would not only help the students, but it would also benefit the lecturers in wiping out the bad eggs among them who are tainting the profession with their illicit acts such as sex for grades.
He further pointed out that the main challenge the foundation is facing is its inability to earn potential sponsors because the organization is reform-oriented.
“I just want to call on all well-meaning Nigerians and organizations especially the media to weigh in on the SBOR. It is high time we encourage and promote sustainable solutions to the education malaise in the country. We cannot agree on one hand that education is declining and students in Nigeria are being shortchanged, while on the other hand, we ignore the honest efforts to change the system,” he noted.
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