Nigerian Senate’s Reaction to Sex For Grades, Good Enough?

The senate on its Wednesday sitting saw the revision of the sexual harassment bill initially sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central and current Deputy Senate President) which was introduced and passed by the eighth Senate in October 2016. The bill stipulates the punishment for the crime of sexual harassment engaged specifically by University /Polytechnics Lecturers. It states that Lecturers convicted for sexually harassing male or female students stands a five-year jail term and five million naira fine. This was revealed in a statement signed by Ezrel Tabiowo, An aide to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. The Sexual Harassment Bill states that an Academic will be vindicated if found in a sexual act with a student below the age of 18. It also adds that an Academic who demands sexual pleasures or found in a sexual act with a student or prospective student over the conditions for grade enhancement or admission into the University is guilty under the bill and therefore will be prosecuted. The bill goes on to prescribe that “Any person who commits any of the acts specified in Section 4 of this Act is guilty of an offence and shall, on due conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years, but not less than two years without any option of a fine.” The bill was however denied a presidential assent after being passed by the eight senate. The initial sponsor of the bill Omo-Agege, has come out again on Wednesday to reintroduce the bill. Some lawmakers previously against its passage had argued that ‘it should be more inclusive and not discriminatory or targeted only at University Lecturers.’ The initiation of this bill comes after the exposition of a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, who was seen soliciting for sex from an undercover underaged girl of seventeen in exchange for admission into the University, in a hour-long TV documentary by BBC African Eye journalist, Kiki Mordi. The Lecturer however, has since then been dismissed by the University.

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