Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Sex-for-mark: CSOs urge Reps to expedite action on Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill

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A group of Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, under the aegis of Anti-Sexual Harassment Advocacy Cluster, has appealed to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to speed up the passage of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill into law.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the Bill seeks to prevent, prohibit and redress sexual harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters connected to it.

This newspaper recalls that the bill was initially sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and 57 other senators in 2016.

The 8th Senate then passed the Bill, but it was rejected by the House of Representatives when it was sent to it for concurrence.

It was later reintroduced to the Senate in October 2019, following a BBC documentary that exposed two lecturers of the University of Lagos, and a lecturer of the University of Ghana for sexual harassment.

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The documentary sparked reactions from many Nigerians who described the issue as a norm in Nigerian universities.

The Senate on July 7, 2020 therefore passed the Bill into law for the second time and transmitted it to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

In the letter, dated January 17 and signed by Kabiru Dakata, Director of Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability, CAJA, on behalf of the CSOs, appealed to the Speaker to support the Bill this time around, in view of its importance towards taming the menace in tertiary institutions.

According to the CSOs, “the cluster had meticulously studied all the content of the above bill that has been passed into law by the Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday, 07/07/2020, and now at the Federal House of Representatives for concurrence.

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“Based on our experience on working with the survivors of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions, we are confident that the Bill, if passed into law, will provide a uniform law that will address the rampant cases of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

“In view of the above, we wish to appeal to your good office, and all members of the House of Representatives, to support the passage of the bill into law.

“This, if done, will be welcomed by the majority of Nigerian students as the law will give protection to the millions of female students studying in different tertiary institutions in Nigeria”.

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DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the CSOs, are a cluster like-minds working towards addressing the prevalence of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

They include Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability, CAJA, Kano State, Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) Abuja, Village Debbo Care Initiative, VDCare, Kaduna State and Sefjamil Media and Development, SMD, Kano State.

Others include Joint Association of Persons with Disability, JONAPWD, Gombe State Chapter, Women`s Rights and Health Project, WRAHP, Lagos State and Connected Development—Akwa Ibom State, CODE.

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