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Senate passes bill on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions

Senate passes bill on sexual harassment in Nigerian tertiary institutions

Senate passes bill on sexual harassment

The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill on sexual abuse of female students in tertiary institutions across the country. Whistling, sexual compliments and winking at a lady are also offenses.

The bill was introduced by the Deputy Senate President, entitled: ‘A Bill for an Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in tertiary educational institutions and related matters, 2019.’ Ovie Omo-Age, and another 106 senators.

The bill, which was read the third time and approved, was a sequel to considering the report submitted by the committee’s chairman, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), from the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

With 25 clauses, the bill aims to promote and safeguard ethical standards in tertiary institutions. It also aims to shield students from sexual assault, as well as discourage students from being sexually abused by educators in tertiary institutions.

The bill also calls a jail sentence of up to 14 years a criminals.

The bill defines sexual offenses as including a student’s sexual intercourse or sexual demands from a student or prospective student, or intimidating or creating a hostile or offensive environment for the student by soliciting sex or making sexual advances.

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Other forms of abuse mentioned in the bill include the grabbing, hugging, kissing, rubbing, stroking, touching, pinching of a student’s breast or hair or lips or hips or buttocks, or any other sensual part of students body; or sending of naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or objects related to sex to a student by hand or courier or electronic or any other means and whistle or wink at a student or scream, exclaim, joke or make sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique or pestering a student.

In a statement on Wednesday the Senate said the bill was forwarded for debate and discussion to the lower house in Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria will also need to agree to the bill for it to become a law.

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