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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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FG announces zamfara a restricted air space

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FG announces Zamfara a restricted air space, orders huge military deployment.

The Nigerian government has forced a restricted air space in Zamfara as a feature of endeavors to handle the security challenges in the state.

As indicated by The Cable, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno uncovered on Tuesday, March 2, that President Muhammadu Buhari has restricted mining exercises in Zamfara to stop the rising instability.

He said the president had requested the service of protection to convey a huge military and insight resources for reestablish routineness in the state. The Nation detailed that they requested the military to recover all regions heavily influenced by desperados, radicals.

Monguno said:

“We can no longer avoid to lose lives while operating within the legalities. We are not going to blackmailed . The government has the responsibility to assert its will.

“Citizens can reside wherever they want to reside . Anybody who is a criminal should be brought to book.”

The security adviser stated that the president also warned against ethnic profiling.Zamfara state has recorded a few assaults by bandits.The new incident included the grabbing of many young ladies from the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Talatu-Mafara nearby government zone of the state.

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Igboho promises a protest if his accounts are not released

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Self-acclaimed political dissident, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise called Sunday Igboho, on Tuesday, blamed the Federal Government for freezing his financial assets, following his assault on the fulani herdsmen in Oyo State.

Igboho, who addressed Vanguard, affirmed that all his financial asset have been frozen by the Federal Government since certain individuals were gathering donations.

Nonetheless, Igboho said he had no hands in the said donations, cautioning that his records should be released to dodge protest by young people across the South-West area.

His words: “They have frozen my bank accounts because I am fighting a just course.

I know Yoruba people are behind me.“I will not relent. I must achieve my aims by putting an end to criminalities in Yorubaland.

“If they refuse to release my accounts, there will be serious protests across the South-West.

“Yes, the Yoruba are living in fear. They are afraid that the killer-herdsmen might attack them.

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IGP adamu retires

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Adamu enrolled in the Police Force on February 2, 1986.

The IGP who will turn 60 on September 17, was appointed IGP in January 2019. He has gone through two years in office.

Three Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs) and 10 Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) are additionally due for retirement with him today.

It is accepted that there is a mission to broaden Adamu’s residency.

However, some have contended against such expansion, since it would negate the arrangements of the Police Act 2020 that fixes the retirement of cops at 60 years old or 35 years of administration.

Section 18(8) of the new Act states: “Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years or until the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier.”

The Act provides for a tenure of four years for the Inspector General of Police.

Section 7, subsection 2 of the Act provides that: “The person to be appointed as Inspector General of Police shall be a senior police officer not below the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police with the requisite academic qualification of not less than a first degree or its equivalent, in addition to professional or management experience.”

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