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Nigerian senate considers sexual harassment bill that would see 14-year jail sentence for culprits

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Following the recent bust of sex-for-grade syndrome in Nigerian universities, the senate is considering a bill to enact a law to punish culprits.

If the bill scales through, the Sexual Harassment Bill, which passed second reading on Wednesday, 6 November 2019, would ensure that culprits are jailed for 14 years.

The bill, titled “A Bill for an Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions and for other matters connected therewith 2019”, was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege.

With 27 clauses, the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, said on Thursday, 7 November 2019, that the bill proposed up to 14 years jail term, with a minimum of five years sentence, without an option of a fine.

According to the bill, it will be an offence to have 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 sex or making sexual advances.

It also defines sexual harassment as 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.

It forbids “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.’’

Two lecturers of the University of Lagos, who were indicted by BBC investigative report on sex-for-grade, have been suspended and many of similar cases have been reported in other institutions.



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