Deliberations continued at the Senate today, May 24, over the proposed sexual harassment bill.
The bill, titled “a bill for an act to make provision for the prohibition of sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary educational institutions and for other related matters, 2016″, seeks to completely prohibit any form of sexual harassment on students.
In a motion sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta Central Senatorial District alongside 57 others, Ovie described the ugly trend as a ‘breakdown of culture’ by those who ought to be mentoring younger generations not only in academics, but morally too, noting that laws must not spare them anymore.
According to him, this is the time to strengthen laws against sexual harassment as the bill will make the tertiary institution a better place for women to study.
“This 8th senate is sending a message that enough is enough. Now is the time to strengthen our laws against sexual harassment. With this bill, we are refusing to adjudicate our role. This bill is an assurance that when we send our daughters, nieces and wives to these institutions, the educators will be their mentors.”
Expanding the scope of the bill beyond educational institutions, Senator Biodun Olujimi maintained that it was not only in tertiary institutions that the trend happens, canvassing that it should cover all sectors. Senator Abdulahi Yaya representing Taraba North constituency also spoke in support of bringing all sectors into the bill adding that:
“Sexual harassment is sexual harassment whether in the Senate or anywhere. I have a very good experience about what happens in the university. There are certain areas where this is punishable. If we have to make a law targeting a particular segment of the society, i think it is discriminatory”.
Although Senator Dino Melaye stood for the sexual harassment bill, he nevertheless, pointed out that female students having dressed offensively also harass their lecturers by offering to sleep with them. He said:
“Mr President of the Senate, Distinguished Colleagues, we should also take cognizance of the fact that female students dress offensively, thereby tempting lecturers who could not resist themselves”.
In addition, he suggested that every educational institutions should have a dress code and insist on students observing it.
After contributions from other Senators in favour of the sexual harassment bill, Senate President Bukola Saraki in his remark noted that the bill was a response to the menace in educational system, stressing that it was right time the Senate rises to the occasion. Having adopted the bill in the second reading, it was referred to the committee on judiciary and human rights.