Following the sexual harassment issue currently rocking the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has presented a Sexual Harassment Bill to the Senate, proposing stiff penalties for offenders and intended to serve as a check to lecturers in other institutions who have been engaging in such practices.
Omo-Agege, who is sponsoring the bill, stated that he was convinced that the relationship between students and educators should never be violated.
… By the maxim of the loco parentis, educators are like parents. They use a specific fiduciary duty of care to students under their authority; students who trust and depend on them to shape their future career paths. It must, therefore, be extremely offensive to a reasonable mind where an educator treats students as ‘perquisites’ of his office.
As a father, it is an issue that I cannot just accept. It is a shame on our conscience as a people. We will stop it …Ovie Omo-Agege – focusnaija.com.ng
The Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions Bill is co-sponsored by 106 senators and makes it a criminal offense for any tutor in a university, polytechnic or any other tertiary educational institution to violate or exploit the student-lecturer relationship for sexual gains.
It imposes a compulsory 5-year jail term for lecturers who harass students sexually. Vice-Chancellors, Rectors and other Chief Executives of institutions of higher learning will also spend time behind bars by getting a 2-year prison sentence if they fail to act within a week on issues of complaints of sexual harassment from students.
The bill also allows victims of sexual harassment, their parents and guardians to seek civil remedies in damages against offending lecturers before or after criminal prosecution by the state.
Protection from sexual harassment for prospective students is another provision in the sponsored bill.
Obarisi Ovie-Omo Agege is a Nigerian lawyer and politician. He is a senator representing the Delta State central senatorial district. He is from the Orogun clan of the Urhobo ethnic group in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.