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The Senate, yesterday passed the Sexual Harassment Bill, 2016. The bill is aimed at checking  sexual harassment between teachers and students.
The Bill, which was sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Labour Party, Delta Central) prescribes a jail term of five years or N5 million option of fine or both, for educators, who are found guilty of sexual harassment against female students at all levels of education institutions.
The bill was passed following the clause- by-clause consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. The initial proposal had earlier targeted only lecturers in tertiary institutions but many senators kicked against the idea during the consideration of the report, and it was amended to include all levels of education institutions in the country.
Briefing journalists after plenary, Omo- Agege described the passage of the bill as a landmark achievement, in view of the menace of sexual harassment in education institutions.
According to him, the bill created a strict liability offence by removing mutual consent, as a defence in prosecution of sexual harrassment cases as well as criminalise the act of neglect or failure of administrative heads of tertiary institutions to address complaints of sexual harassment within a specified period of time. He decried a situation where some female students were kept beyond their official years of graduation in school for refusing to have sex with male lecturers.

He said:”Today is a landmark. A landmark for our wives; a landmark for our daughters and a landmark for our sisters. You recall immediately I got into the Senate, the first and major bill I proposed 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 has 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, some of them have to stay for 5-6 years to graduate just because they said no to unwanted sexual advances from educators in this institutions. “Now, it is touch and go. You stay away from these girls; you touch them as a lecturer, you know there is a price to pay. Somebody describes it as a zip up legislation.
Henceforth, the lecturers or the educators will either zip up or take five years- the choice is theirs.

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