The Sexual Harassment Bill proposes a 14-year jail term for offenders.
The House of Representatives has called President Bola Tinubu to sign the Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions Bill into law.
According to the House, assenting to the bill, which is titled: “A Bill for an Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions and for Matters Concerned therewith, 201”’ will be a major step toward curbing the spread of violence against women in the country.
The call follows the adoption of a motion of urgent importance sponsored by Rep. Kafilat Ogbara (Lagos, APC), on the need for the “ Elimination of violence against women and girls” at Tuesday’s plenary.
Moving the motion to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a global campaign supported by the United Nations through the Secretary General’s UNiTE, Ogbara noted that sexual and physical violence against women in Nigeria is often unchecked due to poor efforts of the government to guarantee the rights of women are protected.
“Violence against women and girls is a widespread human rights violation, affecting 1 in 3 women worldwide. And causing immediate and long-term harm to their physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.
“A Nigeria Demographic Survey revealed that women between the age of 16 and 39 have experienced sexual violence, while 31 percent of women have experienced physical violence.”
“We need to condemn all forms of gender-based violence in the country. To name and shame perpetrators of gender-based violence against women and girls.”
In adopting the motion, the House also asked the Federal Government to intensify efforts to cushion gender-based violence in the country.
It further directed its Committees on Women Affairs and Human Rights to create an implementation plan for the existing laws protecting women from violence.
The bill was first introduced in 2016. However, legislative work was not concluded at the time the Assembly ended.
In 2019, it was reintroduced by the immediate past President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, and 106 Senators.
Amongst other things, the bill seeks to promote and protect ethical standards in tertiary institutions, protect students against sexual harassment, and prevent sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary institutions.
It also proposes up to 14 years jail term for offenders.