The Nigerian Senate has responded to the BBC’s exposè produced by BBC Africa Eye and Kiki Mordi by proposing a bill that aims to prevent the sexual harassment of university students by criminalizing any sexual advances made by lecturers towards students.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege urged Nigerians to support the bill being enacted into the law. He released a statement saying:
“I applaud the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari; the First Lady of Ekiti, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; the Academic Staff Union of Universities and all those who stoutly rose in support of the BBC’s commendable journalistic endeavor that is effectively beaming light on a hidden menace…It must therefore be extremely offensive to a reasonable mind where an educator treats students as ‘perquisites’ of his office…As a father, it is an issue that I cannot just accept. It is a shame on our conscience as a people. We will stop it.”
This is not the first time that the sexual harassment bill has been proposed. According to BBC, the bill was rejected by the two houses of parliament back in 2016 because it reportedly did not cover sexual harassment in the workplace and also included defense for consent. The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, claimed that the bill was targeting men specifically and said that, “That bill was too restricted. What the lawmakers did was to narrow down on lecturers. Laws should be made open; not saying lecturers, male lecturers, who are in tertiary institutions harassing female students.”