Senate revisits Sex Offenders Bill, mulls 5-year jail term 

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By Chibisi Ohakah

The senate on Wednesday revisited the sexual harassment bill sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. The Bill, which was introduced by the 8th Senate in October 2016, had suffered a major setback as it was not given presidential assent after its passage by the 8th Senate.

The bill seeks a five-year jail term and five million naira fine for lecturers convicted for sexually harassing male or female students. According to the letters of the Bill, an educator will be “guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he/she has sexual intercourse with a student who is less than 18 years of age; has sexual intercourse with a student or demands sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to study in an institution or as a condition to the giving of a passing grade or the granting of honour and scholarships.”

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The bill prescribes that: “Any person who commits any of the acts specified in Section 4 of this Act is guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years, but not less than two years without any option of a fine.”

Some lawmakers, who were against its passage, had argued that it should be more inclusive and not discriminatory or targeted only at university lecturers. The reintroduced bill is sponsored by the deputy president of the senate, Ovie Omo-Agege.

The seven bills that scaled first reading include: Federal Polytechnic Daura Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, sponsored by Senator Babba Kaita Ahmad; Modibo Adama University of Technology Bill, 2019, by Senator Aishatu Ahmed Dahiru; National Rice Development Council Bill, 2019, sponsored by Senator Muhammad Enagi Bima, and National Health Insurance Commission Bill, 2019, sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe.

Others are: National Institute for Business Studies Nnewi, Anambra State Bill, 2019, by Senator Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah, and Federal College of Education Monguno, Borno State Bill, 2019, sponsored by Senator Abubakar Kyari.

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