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Sexual harassment bill, a welcome development, says Ajulo

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Ajulo

A legal practitioner and former National Secretary of the Labour Party (LP), Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has described the Sexual Harassment Bill recently passed by the Senate as a welcome development, significant and timely bill, which will reduce the menace of sexual harassment in ivory towers, especially with the removal of mutual consent as a defence in prosecution of sexual harassment cases.

Ajulo, an advocate and solicitor, and adjunct lecturer of law in several institutions of learning, including Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, said this in an interview with The Guardian.

The lawyer, who urged his co-lecturers to ensure an optimum level of civilised behaviour when dealing with their students, said that the bill was significant in a number of ways, chief among which is that, at no time in the history of this country has the country had a sub-sector specific bill to address the menace of sexual harassment in ivory towers.

He said that the endemic culture of violation of the rights of students to a peaceful enjoyment of learning should not be tolerated by any right-thinking individual, saying that with the passage of the bill, the nation’s tertiary institutions can indeed become citadel of learning and character.

Ajulo, who commended the Senate for coming up with the legislation, said that what appears striking about the news, however, is the enthusiasm, hope and joy and in some quarters, suspicion that has greeted it, adding that there is need to strengthen the nation’s legislations in order to check sexual harassment in the workplace, religious houses, clubs and so on, which he said, presents a case for the review of the Labour Act with respect to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.

He said: “This bill is significant in a number of ways, chief among which is that at no time in the history of this country have we had a sub-sector specific bill to address the menace of sexual harassment in our ivory towers. This endemic culture of violation of the rights of students to a peaceful enjoyment of learning should not be tolerated by any right-thinking individual. It is, therefore, commendable that the Senate has decided to take the bull by the horn by coming up with this beautiful piece of legislation; that the bill even removes mutual consent as a defence in prosecution of sexual harassment cases.

“To the legally opinionated, a legitimate question may be asked as to why do we need this educational sub-sector specific bill? Why not an encompassing bill that takes into consideration issues revolving around sexual harassment generally? These questions are but a shadow of insignificance when placed side by side with the solutions already proffered in this instant legislation as far as the future of our youths is concerned.”


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