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Published On: Fri, Mar 24th, 2017

Why Reps Dumps Omo-Agege’s Sexual Harassment Bill

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

LAGOS MARCH 24TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The House of Representatives on Thursday suspended deliberations on a bill seeking to make provisions for the prohibition and punishment of sexual harassment of students in educational institutions.
The bill, sent to the House for concurrence from the Senate, was suspended because it is restricted to higher institutions only.

The bill, christened, ”Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill, 2016”, sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo -Agege, APC, Delta Central, prescribed a 5-year jail term for lecturers and educators convicted of sexual harassment of their male or female students.
The bill also recommended expulsion or suspension for students whose claims of being serially abused by lecturers or educators are found to be false by any competent court.
In the alternative, the bill also proposed a fine of N5 million in the event that the accused person is convicted by a competent court of law even as it made provisions for lecturers and educators who maybe falsely accused by their students to seek redress.
Presenting the bill for second reading, the House Majority Leader, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos-APC), said the Bill needed to be expanded to accommodate other forms of sexual harassment beyond higher institutions.
According to Gbajabiamila, “The way the bill is now is restrictive. It restricts its enforcement to only higher institutions of learning. What about secondary schools and the work place? I have concerns over this bill before we concur to it because it did not talk about sexual harassment in the banks, churches and homes. We should look for a way to widen its scope to encompass sexual harassment in other places.”
But Rep. Aminu Shagari (Sokoto-APC) urged the House to go ahead with the concurrence, while other aspects could be accommodated later.
Rep. Ayo Omidiran (Osun-APC) in her contribution said, “As a woman, I know sexual harassment can take place anywhere be it in market, church or work place. Sexual harassment is sexual harassment anywhere. And women too harass men. Not only men harass women so there should be different segments of harassment and it should be accommodated in the bill.”
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said there might be a need to write the Senate to inform them about what should be included or not.
Dogara said, “And for that reason we shall adjourn this debate pending when we have done proper consultations on the bill.”

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