Lecturers Involved In Unsolicited Sexual Act With Students To Bag 5-Year Jail Term?

The Senate has passed the bill seeking a 5-year jail term for lecturers and educators found guilty of sexually abusing female students in tertiary institutions in across the country.

The lawmakers passed the "Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill, 2016" on Thursday, October 27, six months after it was introduced by on the floor of the Senate.

It also recommends expulsion or suspension for students whose claims of being serially abused by lecturers or educators are found to be false by any a competent court.

The bill, however, proposed a fine of N5 million after the accused person has been convicted by a competent court of law.

In the event that the lecturer is falsely accused by his student, the bill provides that he may seek redress - after the lecturer has been acquitted by a court, he can turn the heat on the student who shall be expelled or suspended at the discretion of the institution.

"An educator shall be guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student, if he or she has sexual intercourse with a student who is less than 18 years of age, an imbecile or of generally low mental capacity or blind or deaf or otherwise physically challenged," the bill states.

It also categorises it as an offence when such a person "has sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to giving a grade or the granting of honours and scholarships, or the payment of stipend, allowance or other benefits, privileges or considerations.

The bill further states: "An educator shall be guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he or she solicits sex from or makes sexual advances towards a student when the sexual solicitation or sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student.

"Or directs or induces another person to commit any act of sexual harassment under this bill, or cooperates in the commission of sexual harassment by another person without which it would not have been committed; grabs or hugs or rubs or strokes or touches or pinches the breasts or hair or lips or buttocks or any other sensual parts of the body of a student.”

"Or displays, gives or sends by hand or courier or electronic (means) or any other means, naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student.

"Or whistles or winks at a student or scream or exclaims or jokes or makes sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique."

The sponsor of the bill, Ovie Omo-Agege - APC, Delta Central, expressed satisfaction with the passage, noting that it is unfortunate that past administrations handled the age-long menace with levity.

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