Sex for grades: MAD urges timely passage of sexual harassment prohibition bill

Communication and Advocacy Director of MAD, Lemmy Ughegbe
  … seeks 10 year jail term for offender
Following the sex for grade epidemic in tertiary institutions in the country, a human rights and good governance advocacy group – Make A Difference Initiative  (MAD) has called on the Senate to expedite the process for the passage of the sexual harassment prohibition bill.
However, the initiative has described the five year jail term provided in the said bill as “far too lenient to be a disincentive against would be offenders” and called for a review and amendment of some critical provisions in the bill.
The Bill which was sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) in the 8th Senate has been re-introduced to the 9th Senate.
Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege

 

In an electronic statement issued by the Communication and Advocacy Director of MAD, Lemmy Ughegbe, he lamented that the epidemic of sexual harassment had hit frightening heights in the country’s tertiary institutions and called for urgent legislative action.
“Some ecturers who are meant to nurture their students in character and in learning are themselves lacking the noble character they ought to have. Instead, they have constituted themselves into sexual predators preying on vulnerable students”, Ughegbe noted.
“Legislative mechanism must be activated to contain stringent punitive measures that would serve as deterrent against such conduct by such lecturers”, he added.
He commended the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for his concern and effort in finding ways to curb Sexual harassment in tertiary institution by sponsoring the Sexual Harrassment Prohibition Bill, but also asked that some amendments be made to improve the bill.
“It is gratifying to know that Senator Omo-Agege had sponsored the Sexual harassment Prohibition Bill in the 8th Senate and on Wednesday reintroduced the said bill. We need leaders who are concerned and bring quality bills forth to the senate”, he stated.
The Communication and Advocacy Director, however, called for a review and amendment of some provision of the bill to make it more effective especially as a disincentive for the act.
Specifically, the bill seeks a five-year jail term and five million naira fine for lecturers convicted for sexually harassing male or female students.
Ughegbe argues that the punishment is too lenient for the gravity of the offence in question.
“An offender should bag a jail term of ten years and pay a fine of N10 milkion naira upon conviction”, he suggested.
He disagrees with the provision of thr bill, which tacitly offers immunity to the lecturer if the student has attained the consent age of 18 years.
According to the bill, an educator will be “guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he/she has sexual intercourse with a student who is less than 18 years of age; has sexual intercourse with a student or demands sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to study n an institution, or as a condition to the giving of a passing grade or the granting of honour and scholarships.”
“I believe it is not the intention of the Deputy Senate President to let a sexual predator of the hook simply because his prey has reached the age of 18 years. Surely irrespective of the attainment of the consent age of 18, it’s criminal for a lecturer to sleep with his /her student as therein lies elements of rape, coercion and or inducement”, Ughegbe submitted.
He called for a reframing of that provision to reflect properly the intention or intendment of the Deputy Senate President who has sponsored the bill.
It would be recalled that the said bill was passed by the 8th Senate,  but did not enjoy the assent of President Muhammadu  Buhari before the curtain was drawn on the said Senate.

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