Senate Mulls Five-year Jail Term for Sexual Predators in Schools

Ovie Omo-Agege

Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, wednesday got the support of the Senate to revisit the sexual harassment bill passed by the 8th Senate.

The Bill, which was introduced by the 8th Senate in October 2016, sought a five-year jail term and N5 million fine for lecturers convicted for sexually harassing male or female students.

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

The bill 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.”

The bill, however, suffered a major setback as it was not given presidential assent after its passage by the 8th Senate.

Some lawmakers, who were against its passage, had argued that it should be more inclusive and not discriminatory or targeted only at university lecturers.

The bill was, however, reintroduced yesterday and sponsored by the Deputy Senate President.

Other bills that scaled first reading yesterday included: Federal Polytechnic Daura Act (Amendment) Bill 2019, sponsored by Senator Babba Kaita Ahmad (APC, Katsina North); Modibo Adama University of Technology Bill 2019 by Senator Aishatu Ahmed Dahiru (Adamawa Central); National Rice Development Council Bill 2019, sponsored by Senator Muhammad Enagi Bima (APC, Niger South); and National Health Insurance Commission Bill 2019, sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central).

Others were: National Institute for Business Studies Nnewi, Anambra State Bill 2019 by Senator Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah (YPP, Anambra South);
and Federal College of Education Monguno, Borno State Bill 2019, sponsored by Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North).