The Nigerian Senate has passed a Bill for an Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions and for other matters, which specifies t14 years jail sentence for any educator found guilty of sexually harass or making sexual overtures towards students.
The bill which has 27 clauses, proposes a minimum of 5 years, without an option of fine for any educator who commits sexual offences in tertiary institutions.
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.
The bill also prescribes fines or jail terms for school administrators who fail to probe allegations of sexual misconduct brought against staff members.
On the other hand, students found guilty of falsely accusing lecturers of sexual misconduct could also be suspended.
Offences under the Bills include actions like whistling, sexual compliments and winking at a lady.
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.
Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who described the bill as “landmark legislation,” said it was aimed at protecting the students from “predators” in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“We have to protect our daughters from predators,” Lawan said.
“We want our tertiary institutions to be a very safe environment for everyone, and this is a legislation that will ensure that wish,” he said.
The Bill, was read the third time and passed during plenary, following 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).
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 was earlier sponsored during the 8th Senate by Omo- Agege but failed to scale through both chambers of the National Assembly.