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What punishment does a lecturer get for sexual harassment of a student in Nigeria?

At least one out of every 20 students in a tertiary institution has been a recipient of sexual advances from a lecturer. Most times, a student is threatened with bad grades or failing courses to ensure their complacency. A larger percentage of the students in question are females, while males are a little fewer.

In 2018, a senior lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University was found guilty of demanding sexual favours from his student. Investigations were carried out, and he was dismissed. Shortly after his dismissal, he was arraigned before Federal High Court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). He was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

In July 2020, a bill for a law sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, and co-sponsored by 106 other senators was passed after the third reading. This bill was to prohibit lecturers from making any sexual advances towards students, prospective students, or directing another person to harass any student sexually. The bill also contained provisions forbidding any lecturer from whistling, making sexual jokes, or commenting either positively or negatively about any student’s physique.

Not only were lecturers forbidden to make sexual advances to students, but there was also a provision placing a ban on students to grant consent to a sexual relationship with a lecturer. The bill prescribed a jail term of up to 14 years for any lecturer, a sum of 5 million naira as fine, or both. However, this bill is yet to be given concurrence by the House of Representatives or assented to by the President.

Although there is no current law addressing this issue, the courts have the discretion to make use of their powers in ensuring that justice is served, and offenders are brought to book. Do ask any questions you might have below.

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Federal High Court Independent Obafemi Awolowo University Ovie Omo-Agege Senate

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