SexForGrades: Senate Propose 14 Year Jail Term for Offenders
By Fidel Oseghale and Ufuoma Egbamuno
Educators who commit sexual offences in tertiary institutions may be sent to jail for as much as 14 years without an option for a fine if the plans of the Nigerian Senate goes through.
Today, a bill for an act to prevent, prohibit, and redress sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions scaled through second reading on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, sponsored by Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, and 105 others, proposes up to 14 years jail term, with a minimum of 5 years, for sexual offenders in tertiary institutions.
The bill also seeks to promote the protection, prevention and redresser of complaints against students.
Last month, a BBC Africa documentary revealed that lecturers in two separate universities in Nigeria and Ghana were allegedly involved in requesting for sex in exchange for favours.
The documentary captured two lecturers - Dr Boniface Igbenehu of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor of the University of Ghana, allegedly engaged in demanding for sexual favours from students.
Dr Ibenegbu was later suspended by UNILAG with the institution acknowledging that it was investigating the allegations.
#SexForGrades Update:— Nigeria Info FM 99.3 (@NigeriainfoFM) October 7, 2019
"Lecturers are not saints. Some girls want STD: Sexually Transmitted Degree..."
Uniben lecturer Prof. Okwechime Emmanuel reacts to allegations against Unilag lecturer & #Foursquare Pastor, Dr Boniface. pic.twitter.com/AisMds4JB4
In her contribution on the floor of the Senate, Senator Uche Ekwunife, called on lawmakers not to limit the punishments prescribed by this bill to the education sector alone but look at it holistically as it affects girls and women everywhere.
“I feel that this should be expanded to what is happening in the private sector, what is happening in the churches, what is happening in the mosque, what is happening everywhere even what is happening domestically,” the Anambra Central Senatorial District lawmaker remarked.
“Some men will bring in house girls in the name of serving them domestically, they end up converting them to sex machines,” she added.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who supported Senator Ekwunife's position on the matter, added that sexual harassment occurs in other sectors and must be addressed in order to protect all females in Nigeria.
“The bad eggs in the identified class tormenting our female students may have thought that we will turn a blind eye to their iniquities. But we are now proving them wrong by this bill,” Lawan said.
According to the Senate President, the Presidency is willing to assent to the bill.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has publicly indicated his interest to give assent to this bill when passed,” Lawan said.