A bill prohibiting sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary educational institutions has scaled second reading at the senate. The bill, which was debated on Tuesday, received the endorsement of many lawmakers.
Leading the debate on the bill, Ovie Omo-Agege, a senator from Delta central, argued that sexual harassment was rife in many higher institutions of learning in Nigeria, hence the need for a law outlawing the vice. He, therefore, urged the senate to support the bill.
“Sexual harassment is a vice in our higher institutions. We are using this bill to send a message that enough is enough,” he said. Also speaking,Theodore Orji, a senator from Abia state, expressed his support for the bill.
“I believe this bill will do enough in curtailing the vice in our higher institutions,” he said. However, Dino Melaye, a senator from Kogi west, while making his contribution, said that sexual harassment was a two-way traffic. He argued that some students willfully seduce their lecturers with the aim of getting academic favours.
“I support wholeheartedly that this bill be enacted to stand as deterrent to lecturers who take advantage of female students,” he said.
“However, the seductive and provocative dresses of our students who enter offices of lecturers who have no anointing to resist sexual temptation should be discouraged.” Making her contribution, Stella Oduah, a senator from Anambra north, called for a quick passage of the bill.
“When you harass these girls you have ruined their lives,” she lamented.
“We should encourage an accelerated passage of this bill.” In his contribution, Yahaya Aliyu, a senator from Kebbi north, called for a blanket law against sexual harassment, instead of one that is targeted at a section of society.
“If we are to make laws against sexual harassment we should do it across the board. Targeting one section of society is discriminatory,” he said. After listening to the arguments, Senate President Bukola Saraki put the bill to a voice vote to which lawmakers gave their nods.
Afterwards, the senate president referred the bill to the committee on judiciary for more legislative treatment, and directed it to submit its report within four weeks. The bill has to be read a third time, before it is passed.