Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President. Image credit: independent.ng
#SexforGrades in Higher Education Institutions: ASUU says Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill not necessary amid existing laws addressing sexual harassment
…. says it would stigmatize lecturers; asks the Senate to focus attention on other problems in the universities.
University education stakeholders say the long-overdue bill should be extended to primary and secondary schools.
Senator Ovie Omo-agege says the menace will continue in the absence of a suitable leadership response
BBC had uncovered misconduct relating to sex by Nigerian and Ghanaian university lecturers.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has condemned the proposed legislation to prohibit sexual harassment in higher education institutions tagged #sexforgrades across the country.
Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, stated this on Monday in Abuja while speaking at the public hearing organized by the Senate on a bill to prohibit sexual harassment in higher education institutions.
The Nigerian university lecturers’ union president believes the new legislation is not necessary, stressing that it will stigmatize lecturers.
See more on Senate holds a public hearing on Anti-Sexual harassment Bill
He further cleared that there are already existing laws to address sexual harassment in various higher education institutions.
Professor Ogunyemi, however, asked the lawmakers to focus their attention on other problems in the universities that needed immediate attention.
The public hearing was attended by a wide range of stakeholders in university education – students, members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), pressure groups.
Some of the stakeholders who were present disagreed with the position of the ASUU national president and rather described the bill as long overdue.
They also called on the Senate to expand the scope of the #sexforgrade bill to include students in primary and secondary schools, arguing that primary and secondary school students also face sexual harassment from their teachers.
The legislation, tagged Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill, is sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy Senate President.
An investigation by BBC had exposed sexual misconduct by some university lecturers in Nigerian and Ghanaian higher education institutions.
Senator Omo-Agege, while presenting the bill to his colleagues during a plenary to the Senate, said that sexual harassment in our university campuses is a distasteful challenge to our cultural values as a people.
He hinted that sexual predators parading themselves as educators have dominated Nigeria’s higher education institutions unrestrained for quite a long time and sexual harassment would continue in the absence of suitable leadership response to the problem.
If the bill becomes a law it would be illegal for lecturers to make any sexual advances towards students.
#SexforGrades scandal endemic has been ongoing for a while in Nigeria’s higher education institutions where lecturers are reported to be harassing female students for the purpose of awarding marks or grades as the case may be.