The Nigerian senate has adopted a five-year jail term and five million Naira fine as penalties for Sexual Harassment.
Addressing the Senate on Thursday before the decision was reached, Senator David Umaru, decried what he called rampant sexual harassment in Nigeria’s institution, saying it affects students psychologically.
Senator Umaru says the bill is appropriate and has elicited wide support from Senators, Stakeholders and Nigerians as a whole.
After his presentation the Senate moved to the committee of the whole for clause by clause consideration of the Report on Sexual Harassment.
During the consideration of the bill, Senator Eyinnanya Abaribe suggested that the title of the Sexual Harassment Bill be amended and not be limited to Tertiary Institutions alone.
But Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, did not support the call for title amendment, said that title was in order.
“Extant laws caters for harassment in elementary schools since they are under 18,” he highlighted.
For Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, five years jail punishment was not enough, as he proposed a seven-year jail term and 10 million Naira fine as punishment for sexual harassment.
Another Senator, Ali Ndume, had suggested that the penalty should be increased to seven years in jail, stressing that the the amount was only an attempt to stop harassment.
On his part, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said: “Rape is the number one crime in Lagos. Harassment is a serious issue. It leads to rape. I propose 10 years”.
After deliberations, the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Bill, 2016 passed for Third Reading, with the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, giving his final words.
“I want to thank my colleagues and the Committee members for the milestone achieved on the Sexual Harassment Bill.
“This Bill will go a long way in protecting our younger ones from harm and serves as deterrent to others who indulge in this act.” he told the Senate.