Group Asks Tinubu To Sign Sexual Harassment Prohibition Bill

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A group, Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI) has called on President Bola Tinubu to sign the sexual harassment prohibition bill into law.
Its lead director, Ms Omowunmi Ogunrotimi, made the appeal at a news conference in commemoration of the “16 Days of Activism” in Abuja yesterday.
Ogunrotimi said that signing the bill into law would mark a significant milestone in the fight against sexual harassment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sexual harassment prohibition bill was a comprehensive legal framework that criminalised sexual harassment in tertiary educational institutions.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta) in 2016, but failed to pass; it was reintroduced in 2023 with the help of some civil society organisations and other stakeholders.
It was passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and subsequently transmitted for presidential assent two months ago.
“The bill is important and the objective of the bill is to ensure there is promotion and protection of educator-students’ relationships,” she said.
Ogunrotimi said that 70 per cent of female graduates from Nigerian tertiary institutions had been subjected to one form of sexual harassment or the other.
‘’The distressing figures are not merely statistics, but represent the live experiences of countless young women whose educational journey has been marred by the insidious spectre of harassment.
“Access to education is a fundamental right that must be safeguarded, but the true essence of education goes beyond mere access. It encompasses a holistic experience that includes a safe and supportive learning environment.
“The fight against sexual harassment is not a separate battle but an integral part of ensuring that the educational journey of everyone, particularly women and girls is enriching, empowering, and free from violence,’’ she said.
Ogunrotimi said, “Addressing sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is not just a moral imperative but a national emergency that demands swift and decisive action.
“As we commemorate the ‘16 Days of Activism’, our hope is anchored in the belief that immediate action from President Bola Tinubu, specifically the prompt signing of the Sexual harassment prohibition in tertiary education institutions bill.”
Also, the acting director, Centre for Gender Security Studies, University of Abuja, Dr Gloria Ibikunle, said it was time the institutions guide against sexual predators who were bent on tarnishing the image of the tertiary institutions.
“Sexual harassment is like a cancer. If you send your child to school, you want to be sure if she gets an A, it’s an A that she well deserved, if she gets an F, it’s an F that she well deserved.
“We don’t want to have any doubts about the integrity of an academic and it is also a disservice to the other lecturers who are working hard to ensure that a child gets a good education.
“So we should not allow a few academic sexual predators to spoil the good image of Nigerian universities,” she said.
The programme manager, Gender and Justice, Oxfam Nigeria, Mrs Helen Akinyemi, said that signing the bill into law was important for the total eradication of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions. (NAN)

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