Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

Nigeria seeks anti-sexual harassment bill after the BBC expose

2 min read

The Nigerian senate has presented a bill that aims to stop the sexual harassment of University students.

The anticipated legislation came after the BBC investigation that uncovered the alleged sexual delinquency by lecturers in Nigeria and Ghana.

The senate’s deputy president is counting on the BBC’s investigation to energize support for the bill.

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said that he regarded sexual harassment in universities as unacceptable.

If the bill were to become law it would be illegal for lecturers to make any sexual advances towards students.

And under the proposed law, which was read in the senate on Wednesday, teaching staff could face up to 14 years in jail for having sexual relationships with their students.

The anti-sexual harassment bill was originally introduced in 2016 but didn’t pass both houses of parliament.

Critics rejected the bill because it did not cover sexual harassment in the workplace and included a defence for consent. The defence for consent has been removed from the latest bill.

Footage of alleged sexual misconduct by academics at the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana was broadcast on Monday in Sex for Grades – a documentary by the BBC’s Africa Eye investigative unit.

The documentary prompted outrage over harassment in Nigeria and Ghana and led to the suspension of four lecturers featured in the film. The suspended lecturers have denied the allegations.

What did the film show?

Four lecturers were secretly filmed allegedly propositioning or sexually harassing the BBC’s undercover reporters.

Dr Boniface Igbeneghu, a lecturer at the University of Lagos and local pastor, was filmed making inappropriate remarks and requests toward an undercover journalist, who was posing as a prospective student aged 17, and later physically harassing her and asking to kiss her inside his locked office

Dr Igbeneghu then appeared to threaten to tell her mother if she was “disobedient” towards him.

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