Sexual molesters in higher institutions in Nigeria face tough times as Senate yesterday moved to make laws that will make it a criminal offence just as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, reject the move saying it negates all known global norms and legal principles.
Both parties made the different views known in a public hearing, which began yesterday in the senate, prelude to the passage of Prohibition of Sexual Harrassment of Students by Educators in Tertiary Institutions and for Matters connected therewith, 2016.
The Bill which was sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege seeks to among other things, prohibit the offence of sexual harassment and imposes Stiffer penalties on perpetrators.
Secondly, it criminalises the act of neglect or failure of administrative heads of tertiary institutions to address complaints of sexual harassment within a specified period.
It also creates a strict liability offence by removing mutual consent as a defence.
The prohibition and punishment are targeted at the tertiary institutions of learning where victims of sexual harassment probably feel most unsafe and unprotected.
However, ASUU in their submission said they were against the bill for various reasons which include that Universities and Other Tertiary institutions were established by law as autonomous bodies and have their own laws regulating their affairs, including misconduct generally among staff and students with clearly articulated appropriate redress.