Sunday Aborisade, Abuja
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has said the Senate would commence the much awaited constitution amendment exercise after the Sallah break, next week.
He also explained that the sexual harassment bill which he sponsored, was not targeted at lecturers.
He said the proposed law, recently passed by the Senate, was meant to flush out the few bad eggs tarnishing the image of university teachers.
Omo-Agege stated this when two groups – Women Education Advocacy and Development Initiative and League of Women Voters of Nigeria, – paid him courtesy visits.
On the constitution amendment exercise, he explained that the committee would swing into action immediately after the Sallah break.
The Senator pointed out that rights of women and the girl-child would be protected in the exercise.
He added that the panel would take into account experiences from other African countries.
He said, “Immediately after the Sallah, we are going to hit the ground running with constitution review exercise. There are a lot of bills dealing with women rights advancement.
“We will take the Ugandan and Rwandan experiences into account to see how we can meet up with the agitation of our women in the constitution review exercise,” he stated.
Speaking further on the sexual harassment bill, Omo-Agege regretted that a few educators were soiling the image of their colleagues, majority of whom he described as ‘’decent’’.
He said, “This bill is not targeted at our lecturers in tertiary institutions. To the extent that it is targeted at anybody, it is targeted at the errant few, the few predators in their midst.
“We have them everywhere. It is not only in the tertiary institutions. Majority of the lecturers, professors are good people. We know them, we went through the institutions.
“So we speak from experience. The majority of lecturers, professors in higher institutions are good and decent teachers whose sole objective is to impact knowledge so that we can have the enabling environment to prepare our leaders of tomorrow.
“So, this bill is targeted at the very insignificant few who cause most of these atrocities. And we have decided that we should put a stop to it. I am sure that even most of these lecturers know that they are not the target”.
He expressed optimism that given the level of overwhelming support from the Presidency, it would get presidential assent once it receives concurrence from the House of Representatives.
The Founder/President, League of Women Voters of Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Esther Uduehi, noted that by the development, lawmakers have written their names in gold.