By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The senate has said that there was no family in Nigeria that does not have a victim of sexual harassment by male lectures in Tertiary Institutions.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the sponsor of the bill that criminalised lecturer-student relationships in Tertiary Institution disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday.
The interview was made public by Bamikole Omishore, Special Assistant New Media to the President of the Senate on the official twitter handle of the Nigerian Senate @NGRSenate.
Omo-Agege while speaking on the bill which prescribed a 5-year jail term for defaulting lecturers said that the spate of harassment by lecturer had gotten to its peak.
He stressed that there was no family in Nigeria that does not have someone who had been harassed or approached by a lecturer in an institution of higher learning.
“Indeed every family in Nigeria where you don’t find a victim of sexual harassment.
“It is either your wife when she was younger or your daughter, your sister or even a niece who has gone through the tertiary education system at one point or the other.
“You will find out that they have had this brush with these lecturers who continue to see these young women as acquisites of their office as lecturers.
“We feel that is unacceptable. We have to put a stop to it.
The senator explained that there was nothing wrong with a younger girl who is matured to date or marry an older man.
But he however explained that because of the peculiarity of the situation in tertiary institutions, the Senate decided to ban such relationship so as not the give room for harassment under the guise of relationship.
“There is nothing wrong ordinarily when two adults decide to have a relationship but it must be a relationship of equals to the extent that there is consent there is no problem.
“The case we are making is that given the special nature of that relationship between the lecturer and the student there is no way you can have an informed consent from the female.
“That is why we moved to curtail that relationship and to put an end to it.
Recall that in October 2016, the Senate passed the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill, 2016, a bill which criminalised love relationship between a lecturer and the female student.
The Bill prescribed a 5-year jail term for lecturers convicted of sexual harassment.
According to the bill, consent was not admissible as and relationship between the lecturer and the student was to be termed harassment as the student does not have the power to give fair consent.
In the alternative, the bill also proposed a fine of N5 million in the event that the accused person is convicted by a competent court.
The bill also provided for lecturers and educators who maybe falsely accused by their students to seek redress.
In such instances, an accused lecturer or educator who is acquitted by a court can turn the heat on the student who shall be expelled or suspended, as the institution where both belong deems fit.