The Rape Bill recently passed by the National Assembly has been kicked against by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU).
Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, the National President of ASUU, said on Monday that the bill was targeted at male lecturers and could lead to a situation where they would refuse to teach female students.
The bill, which was sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege seeks to address issues of sexual harassment and rape in higher institutions in Nigeria.
But ASUU president, who spoke at a Town Hall meeting with critical stakeholders in Jos, insisted that the bill, yet to be signed into law, was discriminatory and ostensibly targeted its members.
At the Town Hall meeting organized by the ASUU chapter of the University of Jos, Ogunyemi said:
“Our reaction to that bill is that, it is discriminatory and is targeted at male lecturers.
“We don’t want a situation, where male lecturers will begin to say they don’t want to teach female students, because they say we should not smile to female students.
“So a time may come, when male lecturer will say, we won’t teach female students, let them get female lecturers, let them get female supervisor.
“l’m not sure, we want that, and that is not also healthy for the society. Because at one point or the other, there will be a point of interface. So, what we are seeing is that, we have laws in the society, that already addressed issues of sexual harassment, issues of rape.
“Another form of victimization is that male students can also be raped in one way or the other and this has not been taken into account or has this type of bill passed.
“We went to the public hearing and we read our objections, well, we have not seen the newly passed bill, but, what we are told is that our views will be taken into account and we said, if there are laws in the society that already addressed the issues of harassment and rape, why are we duplicating efforts?”
He went further to say, “If it meant to cover all and some strata of the educational system, which means it could be a bill meant to cover all genders or both genders, male or female, which we have not seen. Our worries is that, all their talks is centred on the higher institutions, which should stop, because they are stigmatising and is like they are labelling lecturers as criminals or potential criminals.
“We can still raise our voices against that bill to ensure that it will promote equity, fairness and then, that is where we can have justice for all. We are against sexual harassment of our students. We do not support it in any forms.”