Senate to commence constitutional review after Sallah

• says sexual harassment bill targets sexual predators

Deputy President to the Senate Chairman, Senate committee on review of 1999 Constitution, Ovie Omo-Agege has said the Senate will commence constitutional review immediately after the Sallah break.

Omo-Agege made this disclosure on the altering of the constitution on Tuesday when he received two groups – Women Education Advocacy and Development Initiative (WEADI) and League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV) on courtesy visits.

Omo Age said: “Immediately after the Sallah, we are going to hit the ground running with constitutional review exercise. And 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.

The President of the Senate also pointed out that the Sexual Harassment bill was not targeted at anyone but a group of few societal deviants who have become predators on women and young girls.

“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. And 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 impart 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.

Senator Omo-Agege added: “I can also tell you that this bill enjoys the overwhelming support of President Muhammadu Buhari and also the wife of the President, Dr. Aisha Buhari.

“I am also convinced that my colleagues in the House of Representatives are also in a hurry to have this bill passed because they share in our vision to protect our women, our sisters, daughters and young wives who are being daily oppressed and violated in higher institutions of learning.

“We are confident that upon transmission of this bill to the House of Representatives, the leadership and membership of the house will give the requisite concurrence”.

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Earlier, in her remarks, Executive Director, WEADI, Pastor Regina Omo-Agege (Ph.D) commended the lawmaker and his colleagues for throwing their weight behind the all-important bill.

“For us, the passage of this bill at a time like this, when gross violations of the sanctity of womanhood had assumed frightening proportions, has not only renewed our reverence of and confidence in the hallowed chambers of the Upper House, but has also given us the strongest assurance that our girls would be secured and protected within the four walls of our tertiary institutions,” she said.

Also on her part, the Founder/President, League of Women Voters of Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Esther Uduehi noted that by this development, lawmakers have written their names in gold.

Both organisations also presented plaques to the federal legislator in recognition of his efforts at protecting the girl-child and women.

Others on the delegation of WEADI include Mrs Helen William (Programmes Director), Mrs Okiemute Olori (Media and Communications Director) as well as Jemilat Abdul-Azeez (Finance and Admin Officer), while Pastor Regina Omo-Agege (National Secretary), Dr. Aishatu Lemu (Director, North Central) and Okiemute Olori (Chairperson, Electoral Committee) were in the entourage for NILOWV.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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