Nigerian Senate Passes Bill on Sexual Harassment In Tertiary Institutions, Proposes 14-year Jail Term
The Senate on Tuesday passed the bill on sexual harassment of female students in the nation’s tertiary institutions. Actions such as whistling, sexual compliments and winking at a lady are now offences.
The bill titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress Sexual Harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters concerned therewith, 2019’, was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President,. Ovie Omo-Agege, and 106 other senators.
The bill, which was read the third time and passed, was a sequel to the consideration of the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters presented by the committee’s Chairman, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).
The bill, with 25 clauses, seeks to promote and protect ethical standards in tertiary institutions. It also seeks to protect students against sexual harassment as well as prevent sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary institutions.
The bill also proposes up to 14 years jail term for offenders.
The bill defines sexual offences as including sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student or intimidating or creating a hostile or offensive environment for the student by soliciting for sex or making sexual advances.
Other forms of sexual harassment identified in the bill are 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; or 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, and 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.
The Senate in a statement on Wednesday said the bill had been sent to Nigeria’s lower house for deliberation. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari would also have to consent to the bill for it to become a law.