Reps suspend consideration of Sexual Harassment Bill

Reps suspend consideration of Sexual Harassment Bill

Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:13 pm

File: House of Reps in session

The House of Representatives on Thursday suspended deliberations on a bill seeking to make provisions for the prohibition and punishment of sexual harassment of students in educational institutions following complaints that the legislation should be extended to cover other sectors and level of education.

The bill was sent to the House for concurrence from the Senate.

But lawmakers at the lower chamber complained that the focus of the bill is too narrow as it is restricted to punishing sexual offences at higher institutions only.

House Majority Leader, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos-APC) had while presenting the Bill for second reading noted that it needed to be expanded to accommodate other forms of sexual harassment beyond higher institutions.

“The way the bill is now is restrictive. It restricts its enforcement to only higher institutions of learning. What about secondary schools and the work place?

“I have concerns over this bill before we concur to it because it did not talk about sexual harassment in the banks, churches and homes.

“We should look for a way to widen its scope to encompass sexual harassment in other places.

Argument by Rep. Aminu Shagari (Sokoto-APC)that the House to go ahead with the concurrence while other aspects could be accommodated later failed to sail through.

Rep. Ayo Omidiran (Osun-APC) in her contribution said:  “As a woman, I know sexual harassment can take place anywhere be it in market, church or work place; sexual harassment is sexual harassment anywhere.

“And women too harass men not only men harass women so there should be different segments of harassment and it should be accommodated in the bill.

Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said there might be a need to write the Senate to inform them about what should be included or not.

“And for that reason we shall adjourn this debate pending when we have done proper consultations on the bill,” Dogara added.

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