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Senate on Sex: Raunchy lecturers to get 5 years for sexual harassment

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Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege: ZIP UP BILL

There is a new zip-up-bill in town that parents and their daughters in tertiary institutions should be thankful for.

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Thursday October 27, 2016 passed the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Bill. Sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central) the bill prescribes a five-year jail term for lecturers and educators convicted of sexual harassment of their male or female students.

Many parents and female students who may still be at the mercy of such Lothario lecturers in Nigerian universities, polytechnics, monotechnics, colleges of education or teachers, headmasters and principals of primary and secondary schools can now heave a sigh of relief. Alleluia!

Indeed we must look everywhere, even inside churches and mosques. Sunday School teachers and Quran instructors who teach religious enthusiasts and take advantage of them sexually, must not be exempted from the law.

The bill also proposed a fine of N5 million in the event that the accused person is convicted by a competent court of law in the alternative.

It made provisions for lecturers and educators who may be falsely accused by their students.

According to the Bill, an accused lecturer or educator who is acquitted by a court can turn the heat on the student accuser who shall be expelled or suspended, as the University may deems fit.

Senator Omo-Agege, who explained the rationale behind the bill, noted that the menace of sexual harassment has been in the country’s tertiary institutions for a long time and has gone unchecked.

He said, “Today is a landmark. It is a landmark for our wives, a landmark for our daughters and a landmark for our sons. You recall immediately I got into the Senate, the first and major bill I posted was a bill to prohibit sexual harassment of students in our tertiary institutions. We had a reason for doing that.

“We did that because we felt that this menace had been there for so long and it had gone unchecked, but we have had our daughters, our sisters, our nieces and wives and students who have been harassed and nothing was done.

“We had instances where students who ought to have graduated in three to four years, stayed for five to six years to graduate just because they said no to unwanted sexual advances from educators in these institutions.

“It took a lot of political will to club together the coalition that we brought on board to see to the successful conclusion of this bill. Today, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has made it clear that enough is enough and never again will sexual harassment be the norm or the order of the day in our tertiary institutions.”

On the five year jail term he said, “As you recall, when we pushed this bill, we actually proposed a punishment of three years and a fine of N1 million, but the Senate in its wisdom felt that even that was not enough and they wanted to send a stronger message and as a result of that they have increased the punishment from three years to five years and the fine from N1 million to N5 million or both.

“We have now removed the element of consent as a defence. As you know, most of you are familiar with the law. Consent is always a defence to a charge of rape. The way we make it statutory rape whether or not consent is given becomes immaterial and the prosecution will no longer have to prove whether or not the consent of the female was obtained.

“That is the case with minors and that is what we have achieved today with our female students in higher institutions. Now it is touch and go. You stay away from these girls. You touch them as a lecturer; you know there is a price to pay. Somebody described it as a zip up legislation.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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