A former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU Dr. Laja Odukoya, has voiced opposition to the sexual harassment bill, saying that it targets lecturer in an issue that is prevalent not just in tertiary institutions, but the society at large.
The bill which was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, proposed between two to fourteen years imprisonment for convicted offenders of sexual harssment.
Dr. Odukoya, a former chairman of the University of Lagos chapter of ASUU, who aired his view on Sunrise Daily, a programme of Channels Television, said the operational word in the bill is “educators,” which, according to him, picks the tertiary institutions as a special case and not fair for an offence that is common in the society.
The lecturer also said that while the females are vulnerable, males are equally getting sexually harassed.
“There is no doubt that girls or the womenfolk are much more vulnerable in our society, but that is not sufficient to make laws that just look out for their interest, boys and men are equally sexually harassed in different setups in the society,” he added.
Referring to the cardinal principles of law, Dr Odukoya said lecturers are against the sexual harassment bill saying, “You don’t make laws that are discriminatory and tries to criminalise a particular set of people.”
The lecturer criticised the bill for focusing on lecturer-student harassment, saying it ignored an equally prevalent issue in higher institutions, which is student-to-student harassment.
He noted that while the bill is focused solely on educational institutions, it also failed to protect the male folk.
“It is wrong to discriminate against higher institutions and criminalise lecturers because this is a crime that is society-wide.”
The bill titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions and for Matters Concerned Therewith, 2019’, seeks to promote and protect ethical standards in tertiary institutions.
It also seeks to protect students against sexual harassment as well as prevent sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary institutions.