Lecturers risk 5-year-jail term for sexual advances, as Senate passes bill

 The Senate yesterday passed a Bill for an Act to prohibit sexual harassment of female students in tertiary institutions.

The passage of the Bill was sequel to clause by clause consideration of Senator David Umaru led committee Report on Judiciary, Legal, Human Rights and other related matters.

A major highlight in the consideration of the report is the alteration of the com­mittee’s recommendation of a jail term of three years or an option of N1million fine or both for offenders of the Act which was increased to 5 year jail term with an option of N5million or both as the case may be.

Meanwhile, at a media briefing at the end of yester­day’s Senate plenary, Sponsor of the Bill, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege,( Delta Central) applauded the Senate for giving the Bill its deserved importance through the passage.

He said, “Today is a landmark. A landmark for our wives, a landmark for our daughters and a landmark for the feminine gender. You recall immediately I got into the Senate, the first and major bill I sponsored 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 have been there for so long and it has 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 3-4 years stayed for 5-6 years to graduate just because they said ‘no’ to unwanted sexual advances from educators in this 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. As you would recall, this bill was sponsored by me and co-sponsored about 59 senators.”

Ovie Omo-Agege noted that the Bill has taken care of the rampant cases of rape in the country since the excuses by culprits that they commit­ted the act by the consent of their victims would no longer be taken seriously by the new law when assented to by the president.

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