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‘Winking an offence, student’s consent not defence’ — highlights of sexual harassment prohibition bill

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On Tuesday, the senate passed a bill seeking to prohibit sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.

It was passed after Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman of the committee on judiciary and legal matters, presented a report.

The bill was reintroduced in the senate in 2019 following a spike in reports of sexual harassment in universities.

While presenting his report, Bamidele said the bill seeks to tame the “hydra-headed monster” of sexual harassment and make the country’s institutions conducive for learning.

“It has been made an offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in prosecution of sexual harassment cases in tertiary educational institutions and maintain relationship that exists between educators and students with the aim of making our tertiary institutions conducive centres of learning,” the senator said.

“This bill seeks to tame the hydra-headed monster in the name of sexual harassment which has become a pandemic in our tertiary institutions.”

However, while considering aspects of the bill, clause 7 turned out to be controversial among the senators.

Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president and sponsor of the bill, said lady students have been classified as minors and their consent is not a defence if court proceedings are instituted against a lecturer.

But Ibrahim Yahaya, senate leader, and Enyinnaya Abaribe, minority leader, kicked against the provision.

Yahaya argued that having lectured for more than 10 years, some students would use the provision to “set up their lecturers”.

But the provision was retained.

Here are highlights of the bill:

LECTURERS, STUDENTS MUST MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIP OF ‘TRUST’

Clause 3 provides that “an educator shall observe a fiduciary duty of care to every student by not exploiting a student or his/her relationship with a student for personal gains, sexual pleasure, or immoral satisfaction, or in any way whatsoever that violates the sacrosanctity, honour and inviolability of the fiduciary relationship of authority, dependency and trust.”

WINKING IS AN OFFENCE

Clause 4 states that an educator has committed an offence if he or she hugs or winks at his/her student.

An educator shall be guilty of committing an offence or felony of sexual harassment if he or she; –

“(a) violates the fiduciary duty of care in section 3 of this bill; or

(b) has sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or prospective student; or

(c) intimidates or creates a hostile or offensive environment for the student by soliciting for sex from the student or by making sexual advances towards a student; or

(d) directs or induces another person to commit any act of sexual harassment under the provisions of this bill, or conspires with another person in the commission of sexual harassment by another one person without which it would not have been committed; or

(e) grabs, hugs, kisses, rubs or strokes or touches or pinches the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other part of the body of a student; or

(g) whistles or winks at a student or jokes or makes sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique or stalks a student.”

EDUCATOR HAS DEFENCE ON GROUNDS OF MARRIAGE

Clause 5 provides that “for the purposes of the offences created in clause 4 of this Bill, it shall be a defence that the educator and the student are legally married.”

STUDENTS’ CONSENT NOT DEFENCE

Clause 6 states that “it shall not be a defence to any offence created in clause 4 of this Bill that a student consented to the commission of the offence.”

SANCTIONS AGAINST FALSE COMPLAINTS

Clause 18 provides that “where at the completion of an investigation into a sexual harassment complaint, an independent sexual harassment investigative committee finds or determines in its final decision that the complaint is false and malicious, the committee shall recommend sanctions to the administrative head against the student who filed the complaint.”

OFFENDERS COULD GET UP TO 14 YEARS’ IMPRISONMENT

Clause 10 (1) provides that “any person who commits any of the offences specified in Section 4 (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this bill commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment for 14 years or to a fine of N5 million or both.”

Having been passed by the senate, the bill will be sent to the house of representatives for concurrence.

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Man commits suicide due to inability to cope with burdens

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Man ends it all in Kano over ‘family troubles .

One Ibrahim Abubakar, retailer along Zoo Road in Kano city, ended it all on Thursday night.

His body was found swinging from a rope in his shop.

His child, Abdussalam Ibrahim, told newsmen that his dad was combating with mental illness which further declined by homegrown duties he was unable to deal with, including the wedding of his little girl that is coming up soon.

He said: “Our father was battling with psychological trauma and he is also poverty-stricken. More so, my sister is due to be given out in marriage soon. We performed the evening prayer with him after which he went back to the shop and hung himself. He gave up the ghost despite attempts to save him when he was discovered.”

In his reaction, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, expressed that examination concerning the case is on to figure out what really occurred. In the interim, the essential report shows that the man was discovered hanging in his shop at night.

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Wike advises buhari to fulfill his promise to nigerians

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has encouraged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to demonstrate to Nigerians that he is prepared to fulfill the masses needs.

The lead representative said the President will set the nation ‘ablaze’ by not actualizing a portion of the solicitations voiced out by pioneers during the ongoing conversations with the official designation drove by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.

The PUNCH had revealed that Gambari drove lawmakers and government officials to gatherings with heads of the six international zones as a method of tending to concerns brought up in the outcome of the #EndSARS protests.

Gambari and the official appointment had met with lead representatives and heads of the South-South international zone in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday. At the gathering, the South-South pioneers including the Rivers State governor requested the rebuilding of the nation in accordance with the guideline of genuine federalism, saying it will ensure harmony, security and soundness in the nation.

Giving a report on the gathering on Thursday morning, Wike said the President actually has the opportunity to execute the desire of individuals and engraving an inheritance for himself.

The governor talked today on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily program.

He said, “I am not a pessimist. I don’t believe that because you didn’t do what you agreed to do yesterday, therefore, you will not do what you agree to do today.

Even if he (Buhari) has not done what he told Nigerians he would do, he can say, look, I promised Nigerians yesterday, I didn’t do that and that is affecting my integrity and so, for people who know me, I will implement what I have said.

“People have raised the issue that they don’t think anything will come out of the dialogues. I don’t agree with them. I believe that if the President does not do it, given the opportunity he has now, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.” Continuing, Wike said political will to implement what the people want is key in governance.

According to him, the President has to show leadership by listening to Nigerians and by adhering to their wishes and proposals. “He may not necessarily implement everything the people may want but let the people see the concrete evidence that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three, four demands by the people.

“If he (Buhari) doesn’t take this opportunity now to implement some of these requests, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigerians and for his legacy,” the governor added.

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Health

Best WASSCE candidate of 2019 dies of cancer.

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Enugu state student who passed 2019 WASSCE with 7As dies of malignancy.

Chisom Chukwuneke, an understudy who arose the best 2019 candidate of the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, WASSCE, in her school, has died subsequent to fighting leukemia.

Douglas Ifeanyi Uzochukwu, Principal of Graceland College in Enugu where she moved on from a year ago, affirmed the sad news to TheCable Lifestyle yesterday.

Uzochukwu said chisom, 17, kicked the bucket after a delayed treatment in South Africa.

“I’m not her father. I can’t speak much on that but she passed on from leukemia after prolonged treatment in South Africa,” he added.

In a statement written via the school’s Facebook page, he wrote: “Forever in our hearts! Only a moment you stayed, but what an imprint you left in our Hall of Fame. A truly outstanding student! Rest In Peace Chisom!”

Felix Chukwuneke, a Nigerian professor identified as the father of the deceased, also took to Facebook to explain how Chisom’s sickness started as pain in her leg.

He said this had prompted him to fly her to South Africa for medical care. “ It was just like a dream but the realities are crystal now. Just a pain on the leg that snowballed to a devastating episode, the battle started earnestly.

I hear you call, ‘daddy my leg is paining me’. I watch as you lie abed with pain,” he said in a long tribute to the deceased.

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