Senate passes sexual harassment bill that protects university students from predatory lecturers

The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill which deals with the sexual harassment of students in universities and other tertiary institutions.

The bill was passed after third reading during plenary on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, shortly after Senator Opeyemi Bamidele presented a report on it by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters.

The bill was sponsored in 2019 by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, after a string of high-profile cases of sexual harassment of students by their lecturers.

The bill prevents lecturers from having or demanding sexual intercourse from students or prospective students; making sexual advances; or directing another person to commit any act of sexual harassment.

Upon conviction, offenders of these sections of the bill can be sentenced to a minimum of five years and a maximum of 14 years in prison, without an option of a fine.

The bill also prohibits lecturers from whistling, winking, stalking, making sexual jokes, or making sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique.

They are also prevented from grabbing, hugging, kissing, rubbing, stroking, touching, or pinching the breasts, hair, lips, hips, buttocks, or any other sensual part of a student’s body.

Offenders of these sections of the bill can be sentenced to a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years in prison, without an option of a fine.