Senate Proposes 14-Year Jail Term For Sexual Predators In Tertiary Institutions

File Photo: President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during plenary in the Senate Chamber in Abuja on September 27, 2019.

 

The Senate on Wednesday debated two critical bills – the Sexual Harassment Bill and President Muhammadu Buhari’s Finance Bill, 2019.

The bills, which scaled second reading on the floor of the Senate, were sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege and Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, respectively.

The proposed legislation titled “A Bill for an Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions and for other matters connected therewith 2019” has 27 clauses.

According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, the bill proposes up to 14 years jail term, with a minimum of five years, without an option of fine for any educator who commits sexual offences in tertiary institutions.

It defines sexual offences as including: sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student or intimidating or creating a hostile or offensive environment for the student by soliciting for sex or making sexual advances.

Other forms of sexual harassment identified in the bill are grabbing, hugging, kissing, rubbing, stroking, touching, pinching the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student; or sending by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student, and whistling or winking at a student or screaming, exclaiming, joking or making sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique or stalking a student.

Senator Omo-Agege, in his lead debate, said: “the most effective way to deal with the offence of sexual harassment in our tertiary institutions is to penalise the very impropriety of the act, with or without consent.”

According to him, sexual harassment must be defined in tertiary educational institutions as statutory rape with strict liability for offenders to be prosecuted easily.

On the extension of the bill to primary, secondary schools, worship centres and work place, Omo-Agege said doing so will not be necessary because the Criminal and Penal codes already adequately deals with these categories with sufficient clarity.

He, however, stressed that the bill prescribes expulsion for students who falsely accuse educators of sexual harassment.

He said, “An educator whose character is maligned is at liberty to sue for defamation under the law of defamation which is well-settled in our jurisprudence and needs no duplication in this bill.”

The Senate also on Wednesday considered President Muhammadu Buhari’s Finance Bill, 2019.

Leading debate on the bill, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North), said the bill essentially seeks to promote fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; reforming domestic laws to align with global best practices; and introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets.

The bill also seeks to support small businesses in line with ongoing ease of doing business reform, and raising revenues for government by various fiscal measures, including a proposal to increase the rate of Value Added Tax from 5 percent to 7.5 per cent.

According to Abdullahi, the additional revenues to be made by the Federal Government when this bill becomes law will be used to fund health, education and infrastructure programmes.

“It is absolutely essential to intensify the revenue generation efforts of this administration and its commitment to ensuring that the inconvenience associated with any fiscal policy adjustments is moderated such that the poor and the vulnerable, who are most at risk, do not bear the brunt of these reforms,” Abdullahi said.

Other bills which scaled second reading on the floor are: A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Federal University of Education, Kontagora, sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), and A Bill for an Act to establish the Federal College of Education, Illo, sponsored by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).

Pistorius Gets Six Years Jail Term For Girlfriend’s Murder

oscarParalympics gold medalist, Oscar Pistorius, has been sentenced to six years in prison for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The South African was taken to jail immediately.

The verdict comes after his initial five-year conviction for manslaughter was changed to murder last December on appeal.

The state had called for him to receive no less than the prescribed minimum of 15-year sentence for murder.

In an hour-long session, Judge Thokozile Masipa said mitigating circumstances, such as rehabilitation and remorse, outweighed aggravating factors for deviating from the prescribed 15-year sentence for murder.

“Public opinion may be loud and persistent, but it can play no role in the decision of this court,” High Court judge Thokozile Masipa said in her ruling.

Pistorius, 29, shot Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door in February 2013.

He admitted shooting her, but said he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder and acted out of fear.

Gunmen Kill 13 Policemen In Bayelsa

13 policemen have been killed after suspected militants ambushed their boat in a creek at Zuzama in southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa state.

Three others including a police sergeant escaped death by swimming away to safety.

According to the commissioner of police in the state Kingsley Omire, the boat carrying the police officials was headed to a funeral when it developed engine fault.

It is still unclear if the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is responsible for the attack.

In an e-mail last week, the group had threatened to resume killings in the region following the jailing of its leader Henry Okah by a South African court.

Man earns 14-month jail term for racist attack

A man from Elland; a county of West Yorkshire Halifax has earned himself a jail term of 14-months for racist assault on the top deck of a bus.

The judge was shown CCTV footage Drunken Ryan Roberts, 31, shouting “monkey” and “go back to your own country” at one black male passenger during the incident which took place on a bus travelling between Halifax and Huddersfield in August.

Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that other passengers intervened and one of them told Roberts to “chill out”.

The CCTV footage showed Roberts confronting passenger Guy Musengay who was grabbed by his tee-shirt and pushed against the window of the bus.

Roberts, of Langdale Street, pleaded guilty to charges of racially aggravated common assault and resisting a police constable in relation to the incident.

The court heard that he committed the offences just a few months after being given a community order for his part in a burglary.

Lawyer Ann-Marie Hutton told Judge Jonathan Rose that her client’s drinking that afternoon had been caused by him receiving information about the person who had murdered his mother when he was young.

She said in the cold light of day and when sober, Roberts appreciated just how appalling his behaviour was and hung his head in shame.

Judge Rose told Roberts that his tragic past could not be an excuse for his behaviour and added: “For too many years you have troubled the streets, the people of Elland and thereabouts and the courts with your behaviour fuelled by alcohol and drugs”.

He said Mr Musegay had done nothing to merit Roberts’ attention and he had been subjected to vile racist abuse.

The judge noted that Roberts’ girlfriend had tried to stop him and she had been left deeply upset by what he did.

The judge revoked the community order he imposed for the burglary offence and replaced it with a six-month prison sentence.

But he also added a further eight months in jail for the racially-aggravated common assault with no separate penalty for resisting the officer.

Examiner