A Non-Governmental Organization, Dream Project for Africa (DPA) has called on all stakeholders, individuals, organisations and bodies across Nigeria to support the Bill against Sexual harassment in Nigerian academic system as the future of the country depends on its passage.
The call was made by the CEO, Dream Project for Africa, Nelson Oluwabukola Michael, a body that seeks to address ills in the African Society giving it a fore front backing with research. The bill which was recently spearheaded and moved by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta Central Senatorial District is now gaining momentum coupled with advocacy from DPA.
During a courtesy visit by DPA on Senator Omo-Agege in Abuja, the senator expressed disgust towards the attitude of most lecturers in the academic environment. In his words; “the bill transcends Delta Central. When lecturers harass these girls, they do so cause students perucite on the government, not because of religion or where they come from. This has been going on for so long. A lot of issues have arisen, but people do not know the law. We are breaking a new law. We are re modifying it. It is very difficult to prove rape cases, due to this, Victims shy away. We thought of how to make it easy for prosecution, where we have challenges is when the lecturer says, “she gave consent, and she’s an Adult.”
The statutory rape provision of the criminal code is sufficient for every minor, thus, we intend removing the mental elements. “Consent is not an absolute right. This took a lot of research, debate from lawyers issues came up centering on fundamental rights of loving all you want. The thing is – You can’t start a relationship during a 4/5years course requirement. On the other end, dressing is not a license. Lecturers can say NO and move to punishing students for dressing provocatively.
“We have to stop this issue as it transcends across. I have daughters, though they are not here. I represent them. I have sisters, nieces, I represent the parents. This bill is not about me or you, it is about the people. It is very impactful but we expect a fight. Some people don’t care. Most lecturers study abroad. They won’t dare do thus in the U.S but here… it’s a Jungle.”
In light of this, Mr Nelson Michael intimated Senator Omo-Agege on the online campaign #AgegeBill, which is designed to sanitize the Nigerian academic environment and pave way for Nigerian student to compete favorably at the local and international levels.
“The bill has over 1000 benefits for the Nigerian masses. The #AgegeBill will ensure that our academic institutions inject the best minds into the police force, churches, politics, customs, military, business and foreign affairs. This is where the CHANGE we have always expected comes into the picture. Second reading of the #AgegeBill comes up on Wednesday. We implore the Nigerian public and the international community to put all their support behind the bill,” Nelson said.