Senate passes bill criminalising sexual harassment in schools

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The Nigerian Senate has passed the bill against sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.

It is titled, “A Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress sexual harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters concerned therewith, 2019.”

The bill was passed after it was read for third reading on Tuesday.

This proposed legislation was sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and it took over three years before its eventual passage.

The federal legislators passed the bill after considering the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

The bill prohibits the offence of sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions and criminalizes the act of neglect or failure of administrative heads of tertiary educational institutions to address complaints of sexual harassment within a specified period of time.

The proposed legislation also creates strict liability offences by removing mutual consent as a defense in the prosecution of sexual harassment cases in tertiary educational institutions and maintains the fiduciary relationship that exists between educators and students.

It stipulates that any person who commits the offences of sexual harassment of students listed under the Bill shall in conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for 14 years or to a fine of five million Naira or both.

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It is expected to go through a similar process at the House of Representatives before being transmitted to the President of the country for assent.

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