A Human Rights lawyer, Mr. Joe Nwokedi has described as ridiculous and laughable, the contents of the Bill made by the National Assembly, aimed at curbing sexual harassments in institutions of higher learning, saying that such will reduce Nigeria to a very crude and uncivilized nation in the 21st century.
Nwokedi said the bill is discriminatory as it must have been purportedly designed and targeted at male lecturers. The lawyer noted that the bill is grossly unconstitutional, as it is inconsistent with the provisions of the Section 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, that secures citizens’ Freedom of Expression and Association.
He maintained that the bill contravenes the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended, as well as repugnant to natural justice. The lawyer stated that a bill that seeks to deprive any citizen inalienable right to woo the opposite sex without deployment of any form of force, coercion or manipulation is nothing but very offensive, unconstitutional and should be jettisoned.
He stated that there are laws already in place in the Nigeria that cover issues or mischief sought to be cured by some of the contents of the bill, which implies having a carnal knowledge of a woman by force or without properly securing her consent otherwise known as rape. There are also plethora of laws relating to having carnal knowledge of underage persons or minors otherwise known as defilement. He maintained that in the absence of rape for adults or defilement for minors, a man can approach a woman for romantic affairs in any place, environment, milieu or vice versa.
The lawyer stated that the issue of sex-for-mark phenomenon in our higher institutions is a case of criminal offence and should be investigated by whoever is involved in such and diligently prosecuted and punished.
“It therefore becomes quite discriminatory when such laws are couched in such a way or manner that will exclusively deprive the male lecturers the right to woo the female folks simply because they found themselves in the institutions of higher learning” he said.
“Records show that most single male lecturers marry their female students and it is also not every affair in the higher institution between a student and a lecturer that has something to do with academic activities, as some are natural genuine feelings and love expressed between two grown up adults, while some are for casual fun between two adults.”