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Sexual Harassment Bill not targeted at lecturers, says Omo-Agege



Sexual Harassment Bill not targeted at lecturers, says Omo-Agege

Ovie Omo-Agege

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said that the Sexual Harassment Bill recently passed by the upper legislative chamber is not targeted at lecturers in higher institutions of learning but meant to flush out the few bad eggs tarnishing the image of their colleagues.

This is even as Omo-Agege, who chairs the Senate Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, disclosed that work on altering the constitution would commence in full swing after the Sallah break.

The Deputy Senate President, who spoke in Abuja while receiving two groups – Women Education Advocacy and Development Initiative, WEADI and League of Women Voters of Nigeria, NILOW, regretted that few educators are soiling the image of their colleagues, majority of whom he described as ‘’decent’’.

He commended the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahm Lawan for providing leadership, while also applauding his colleagues for co-sponsoring the bill.

He said: “This bill is not targeted at our lecturers in tertiary institutions. To the extent that it is targeted at anybody, it is targeted at the errant few, the few predators in their midst. And we have them everywhere. It is not only in the tertiary institutions.

“Majority of the lecturers, professors are good people. We know them, we went through the institutions. So we speak from experience. The majority of lecturers, professors in higher institutions are good and decent teachers whose sole objective is to impact knowledge so that we can have the enabling environment to prepare our leaders of tomorrow.

“So, this bill is targeted at the very insignificant few who cause most of these atrocities. And we have decided that we should put a stop to it. I am sure that even most of these lecturers know that they are not the target”.

Sexual Harassment Bill not targeted at lecturers, says Omo-Agege

He expressed optimism that given the level of overwhelming support from the Presidency, it would get presidential assent once it receives concurrence from the House of Representatives.

Earlier, in her remarks, Executive Director, WEADI, Pastor Regina Omo-Agege commended the lawmaker and his colleagues for throwing their weight behind the all-important bill.

“For us, the passage of this Bill at a time like this, when gross violations of the sanctity of womanhood had assumed frightening proportions, has not only renewed our reverence of and confidence in the hallowed chambers of the Upper House, but has also given us the strongest assurance that our girls would be secured and protected within the four walls of our tertiary institutions,” she said.

Also on her part, the Founder/President, League of Women Voters of Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Esther Uduehi noted that by this development, lawmakers have written their names in gold.

The Bill to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions, 2020, which was passed by the Senate at its sitting on July 7, 2020, prohibits sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions and prescribes jail term ranging from two to 14 years for various degrees of offences.

Sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate and co-sponsored by 106 lawmakers, the proposed legislation also prescribes N5million fine for offenders.

When signed into law, any educator who whistles or winks at a student or makes sexually-complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique would be liable to two years imprisonment or a fine of N1million, if found guilty.

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