University ‘Sex-For-Grades’ Prohibition Bill Scales 2nd Reading In The Senate
The bill, which was debated on Tuesday, received the endorsement of many lawmakers.
Leading the debate on the bill, Ovie Omo-Agege, a senator from Delta central, argued that sexual harassment was rife in many higher institutions of learning in Nigeria, hence the need for a law outlawing the vice.
He, therefore, urged the senate to support the bill.
“Sexual harassment is a vice in our higher institutions. We are using this bill to send a message that enough is enough,” he said.
Also speaking,Theodore Orji, a senator from Abia state, expressed his support for the bill.
“I believe this bill will do enough in curtailing the vice in our higher institutions,” he said.
However, Dino Melaye, a senator from Kogi west, while making his contribution, said that sexual harassment was a two-way traffic.
He argued that some students willfully seduce their lecturers with the aim of getting academic favours.
“I support wholeheartedly that this bill be enacted to stand as deterrent to lecturers who take advantage of female students,” he said.
“However, the seductive and provocative dresses of our students who enter offices of lecturers who have no anointing to resist sexual temptation should be discouraged.”
Making her contribution, Stella Oduah, a senator from Anambra north, called for a quick passage of the bill.
“When you harass these girls you have ruined their lives,” she lamented.
“We should encourage an accelerated passage of this bill.”
In his contribution, Yahaya Aliyu, a senator from Kebbi north, called for a blanket law against sexual harassment, instead of one that is targeted at a section of society.
“If we are to make laws against sexual harassment we should do it across the board. Targeting one section of society is discriminatory,” he said.
After listening to the arguments, Senate President Bukola Saraki put the bill to a voice vote to which lawmakers gave their nods.
Afterwards, the senate president referred the bill to the committee on judiciary for more legislative treatment, and directed it to submit its report within four weeks.
The bill has to be read a third time, before it is passed.
Meanwhile, the senate will debate the current status of the Nigerian economy on Wednesday.
This followed a point of order raised by Bassey Akpan, a senator from Akwa Ibom north-east, under order 42 of the senate rules which has to do with matters of urgent national importance.
Akpan while making his submission stated that the economy had slipped into a full-blown recession, and added that it needed an urgent remedy.
“I wish to draw the attention of this chamber to the statistics of Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the state of Nigerian economy. Statistics have shown that our economy has gone into a full-blown recession,” he said.
After listening to him, Saraki stood down the matter to the next legislative day.
According to the NBS, 1.5 million Nigerians became unemployed in 2016. This is besides 13.7 percent inflation rate, and the depreciating value of the naira.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has called for an urgent monetary policy meeting to look into the current fiscal challenges.