23rd March, 2017
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.
The bill, sent to the House for concurrence from the Senate, was suspended because it is restricted to higher institutions only.
Presenting the bill for second reading, the House Majority Leader, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos-APC) said the Bill 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 workplace?
“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.
But Rep. Aminu Shagari (Sokoto-APC) urged the House to go ahead with the concurrence while other aspects could be accommodated later.
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 workplace; 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.