It is my pleasure to be with you today to declare open the public hearing on this important bill that will provide a proper legislation to checkmate the ugly incidence of sexual harassment in our tertiary institutions. The 8th Senate as part of our legislative agenda resolved to take necessary legislative initiative to promote equality and inclusiveness and ensure that the rights of women, youth and vulnerable people in the society are adequately addressed.
Distinguished Senators and invited guest, complaints of sexual harassment in our places of learning is on the rise and this dangerous trend has quite a significant impact on the quality of learning, life and dignity of our children as a whole. Sexual harassment incidences are beginning to factor dangerously in our higher institutions in such a manner that we can no longer ignore otherwise we will be abdicating our responsibility to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation. This menace has the potential of hindering academic excellence among our students most especially the female students. One of the greatest achievements African women have made in their quest for empowerment has been in the area of education. And this bill when passed into law will further make the academic environment more accommodating for all who seek excellence.
Yes, we have laws dealing with sexual offences in general, just like we have for many other offences. But in this regards we are paying significant attention and treating this matter as a special challenge that requires specific and more deterring direct attention. This is in recognition of the many dimensions of its impact. We are also doing this to further send a message to all those who have utilized the seeming gaps in our body of laws to perpetrate this evil and destroy the hope of our children.
This bill must also be seen as a message to our children that we hear their cries and we cannot seat idly by and watch. Let this also sound as a matching order to our law enforcement agencies to develop and adopt greater attention to deal with the growing menace and nip it in the bud. Making law is not enough.
The Executive, must begin to pay attention to the right issues affecting our lives as a people including those with direct impact on our peoples’ enjoyment of liberty, freedom and aspirations. We cannot continue to focus on less impact areas of our lives while people suffer on the streets and the quality of individual lives continue to dwindle due to lack of government attention. It is time for our children to feel safe again in schools and worry more about their learning than of their safety and protection. This is what government is about.
At this juncture I must commend the initiator of this bill Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege for the timeliness and thoroughness and also the Senate committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for their commitment in ensuring we are all here to help contribute to making this bill a good piece of legislation.
I am very confident that the intellectual contributions from the academic personalities, civil society and students here present will enrich this bill so that when eventually passed into law, our students can have the best possible protection of the law to ensure that sexual depravity is no longer a factor of consideration as they seek to shape their future and enhance our national productivity through learning.
With this few remarks of mine, it is my pleasure to now declare this public hearing open.
Thanks for your attention and God bless us all.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR(DR.) ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI, DECLARING OPEN THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROHIBITION OF INCIDENCES OF SEXUAL HARRASMENT IN OUR TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS,HOLDEN ON THE 20TH OF JUNE, 2016.