The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has faulted the proposed legislation to prohibit sexual harassment in tertiary institutions across the country.
ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this when he appeared before some lawmakers on Monday in Abuja.
He spoke at the public hearing organised by the Senate on a bill to prohibit sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.
The union president believes the new legislation will stigmatise lecturers, stressing that it is not necessary.
According to him, there are existing laws to address the problem of sexual harassment in various academic institutions.
Professor Ogunyemi, however, asked the lawmakers to focus their attention on other problems in universities that needed immediate attention.
The public hearing was attended by a wide range of stakeholders comprising students, as well as members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and pressure groups.
Some of them disagreed with the position of the ASUU national president and described the bill as long overdue.
They also called on the Senate to expand the scope of the bill to include students in primary and secondary schools.
They argued that in primary and secondary school students also face sexual harassment from their teachers.
The legislation, tagged Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill, is sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
This followed an investigation by BBC which uncovered sexual misconduct by some university lecturers in Nigeria and Ghana.
Presenting the bill to his colleagues during a plenary in the Senate, Omo-Agege had said, “Sexual harassment in our campuses is a repugnant challenge to our values as a people.
“For far too long, sexual predators masquerading as educators have plied the corridors of our nation’s higher institutions unchecked. It will continue in the absence of an appropriate leadership response.”
If the bill becomes a law it would be illegal for lecturers to make any sexual advances towards students.