The Senate, on Tuesday, ruled out “mutual consent” as defence by randy lecturers, while passing the Sexual Harassment Bill meant to checkmate sexual harassment in the nation’s higher institutions.
Campus Gist reports that the bill christened: “An Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions”, seeks to stop sexual abuse of female students.
It was sponsored by Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and co-sponsored by 105 other Senators.
The bill proposes up to 14 years jail term, with a minimum of 5 years, without an option of fine for any educator who commits sexual offences in tertiary institutions.
The bill was passed following the consideration of a report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters presented by the Chairman, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele Opeyemi (APC, Ekiti Central).
In his presentation, Senator Bamidele said sexual harassment has been made an offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in prosecution of sexual harassment cases.
The bill, he said, seeks to maintain the relationship that exists between educators and students with the aim of making tertiary institutions conducive centres of learning.
According to Campus Gist, Senator Bamidele maintained that it was immoral and illegal for an educator or a lecturer to keep or maintain sexual relationship with a student.
“This bill seeks to tame the hydra-headed monster in the name of sexual harassment which has become a pandemic in our tertiary institutions.”
In his remark, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the bill is an important and landmark legislation that the ninth Senate has passed.
“We have to protect our daughters, sisters, mothers from sexual predators. From the recommendations, we wanted a fair means of offence that somebody is accused of.
“We want tertiary institutions to be safe and peaceful learning environment for everyone,” he said.
The bill will be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence and then sent to the president, Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
*The sexual offences identified in the Sexual Harassment Bill include;
•sexual intercourse with a student
•demands for sex from a student or a prospective student
•intimidating or creating a hostile or offensive environment for the student by soliciting for sex or making sexual advances
•grabbing, hugging, kissing, rubbing, stroking, touching, pinching the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student
•sending by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student
•whistling or winking at a student or screaming, exclaiming, joking or making sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique or stalking a student
If signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, sex offenders in Nigeria’s higher institutions risk 14-years jail term, with a minimum of 5 years, without an option of fine.
Source: Campus Gist