A Bill Prescribing 5-Year Jail Term For Randy Lecturers Passes First Reading

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By Nuel Suji – A bill for an Act prohibiting sexual relationship between lecturer and student in Nigeria’s schools has passed its first reading in the Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central) and alongside 46 other senators, prescribed a five-year jail term for any lecturer found guilty of sexual relationship with student in Nigerian higher institution.Senate in session

Sen. Omo-Agege who was elected to the Senate on the platform of Labour Party told journalists, after Wednesday plenary, that the institutions of higher learning in the country must to rid of lecturers who saw female students as prize, adding that the system must be sanitized.

Sen. Omo-Agege noted that while it exists in other climes as “honour codes,’’ it should be domesticated in Nigeria as law.

When passed into law, the bill makes any lecturer found guilty to be liable to a jail term of up to five years but not less than two years with no option of fine.

“When passed into law, it makes it a criminal offence for any educator in a university, polytechnic or any other tertiary educational institution to violate or exploit the student-lecturer fiduciary relationship for sexual pleasures.

“The bill imposes stiff penalties on offenders in its overall objective of providing tighter statutory protection for students against sexual hostility and all forms of sexual harassment in tertiary schools.

“The bill provides a compulsory five-year jail term for lecturers who sexually harass students.

“When passed into law, vice chancellors of universities, rectors of polytechnics and other chief executives of institutions of higher learning will go to jail for two years if they fail to act within a week on complaints of sexual harassment made by students.

“The bill expressly allows sexually harassed students, their parents or guardians to seek civil remedies in damages against sexual predator lecturers before or after their successful criminal prosecution by the State.

“The bill also seeks to protect, from sexual harassment, prospective students seeking admissions into institutions of learning, students of generally low mental capacity and physically challenged students,’’ he stated.

The bill reads: “An educator shall be guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he/she has sexual intercourse with a student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he has sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to study in an institution.

“He or she shall be guilty if he has sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to the giving of a passing grade.

“He or she shall be guilty if he solicits sex from or makes sexual advances at a student when the sexual solicitation or sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he directs or induces another person to commit any act of sexual harassment under this Act, or cooperates in the commission of sexual harassment by another person.

“He or she shall be guilty if he grabs, hugs, rubs or strokes or touches or pinches the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he displays, gives or sends by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he whistles or winks at a student or screams or exclaims or jokes or makes sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique,” he said.

The bill also has provisions to sanction students who falsely accuse lecturers of sexual harassment. Such students could face dismissal from the school but no jail term was prescribed.

According to the bill, the only exemption is where the student is legally married to the lecturer before admission in the school as a student.

It states that the consent of the student shall not serve, in anyway, as a defence as the bill seeks to completely ban lecturer-student relationship.

The bill also imposes on institutions the responsibility to protect students who initiate a sexual harassment charge.

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