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Senate considers five-year jail term for lecturers over sexual assault

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Ovie Omo-Agege


UNILAG, UI move to tackle menace, Kano poly disowns teacher
The Senate yesterday revisited the sexual harassment bill sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and passed by the Eighth Senate. It specifies a five-year jail term for those who fail to contain their sexual excesses.

The Bill, which was introduced in October 2016, prohibits any form of sexual relationship between lecturers and their students and prescribes jail term of up to five years for those who engage in sexual relationship with students. When passed, randy lecturers found culpable would have to contend with a five-year jail term and N5m fine for lecturers convicted for sexually harassing male or female students.

An educator will be “guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he/she has sexual intercourse with a student less than 18 years; has sex with or demands sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to study in an institution, or as a condition to giving a passing grade or granting honour and scholarships,” the bill reads.

It also prescribes that: “Any person who commits any of the acts specified in Section 4 of this Act is guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years, but not less than two years without any option of a fine.”

But it suffered a setback, as President Muhammdu Buhari did not sign it into law after its passage by the Eighth Senate.Besides, following the allegation of sexual harassment against two of its lecturers, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) has set up a panel to investigate the matter.

The panel, headed by Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof. Ayodele V. Atsenuwa, was mandated to probe the allegations of sexual harassment leveled against Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Dr. Samuel Oladipo of the Department of Economics and other related cases.

The university had suspended the duo over their involvement in a sex-for-grades documentary published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) targeted on lecturers in some West African universities who harass female students for sex in exchange for marks.Also, Vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, has disclosed that the institution has zero tolerance for sexual harassment, saying a post-graduate student was expelled a few months ago for the act.

He stated this at the quarterly media briefing in Ibadan, adding that the university has two structures to deal with issues of sexual harassment just as he urged any harassed person to report to the university authorities for appropriate action.

“There are two structures in place. We have Gender Mainstreaming Office. In fact, last night I called the Vocal Person, Prof. Olapeju Aiyelagbe and we discussed the news that broke on UNILAG and University of Legon, Ghana. “We also have Gender Harassment Policy, which was developed when Prof. Abiola Odejide was Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) where she insisted that two bodies should not be merged. So there are structures in place to effectively deal with cases of sexual harassment,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Kano State Polytechnic has disowned one of its lecturers, who was allegedly involved in sexual harassment of a female student.A Kano Chief Magistrates’ Court yesterday ordered the remand of the 36-year-old lecturer, Ali Shehu, in prison custody for alleged breach of trust and sexual harassment against the student.

Shehu was arraigned for breach of official trust and attempt to commit an offence, contrary to Sections 95 and 98 of the Penal Code.The Chief Magistrate, Muhammad Idris has adjourned the matter to October 15 for hearing. Registrar of the Polytechnic, Ado Mohammadu, who expressed shock on the incident, told journalists that the accused was not a staff of the institution.


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