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Nigeria: Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill

Nigeria: Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill

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Abuja, October 10, 2019, (CABNC):  The anti-sexual harassment bill was originally introduced in 2016 but didn’t pass both houses of parliament is now been pushed by the Nigerian lawmakers with the aim of criminalising sexual harassment of students in Tertiary institutions. The proposed legislation follows a BBC investigation that uncovered alleged sexual misconduct by lecturers in Nigeria and Ghana.

Dr Boniface Igbeneghu, a lecturer at the University of Lagos and local pastor, was filmed making inappropriate remarks and requests toward an undercover journalist,

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who is the senate’s deputy president said that he regarded sexual harassment in universities as unacceptable and hopes the undercover investigation would help energise support for the law. If the bill were to become law it would be illegal for lecturers to make any sexual advances towards students.

And under the proposed law, which was read in the Senate on Wednesday, teaching staff could face up to 14 years in jail for having sexual relationships with their students. The defence for consent has been removed from the latest bill. The initial bill was rejected by critics because it did not cover sexual harassment in the workplace and included the controversial defence for consent.

Footage of alleged sexual misconduct by academics at the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana was broadcast on Monday in Sex for Grades – a documentary by the BBC’s Africa Eye investigative unit. The documentary prompted outrage over harassment in Nigeria and Ghana and led to the suspension of four lecturers featured in the film. The suspended lecturers have denied the allegations.

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