Frontline Presidential candidate in the NBA national elections 2020, Olumide Akpata, has expressed delight at the recent passage of the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2019 by the Senate. He commended the Senate for the move, characterizing it as a bold stance.
He said “I received with delight, the news of the passage of the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2019 by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is very commendable that the apex legislative body has taken a bold stance at a time that sexual harassment and all other forms of sexual violence against female students in our tertiary institutions has become unfortunately prevalent. Given the recent wave of sexual violence against our women and young girls, I would love to see a similar legislative passion and will directed towards addressing sexual harassment and violence in the larger society, and not just our tertiary institutions”
In the same stride, he went ahead to highlight his commitment to ensure sexual harassment was eliminated within the NBA as this is a key point in his agenda for the Bar. He said “Like I have said at various fora, this is a subject that I am deeply passionate about. The Nigerian Bar Association under my watch would not tolerate any form of sexual harassment against lawyers. We will ensure that we protect our colleagues, particularly the female ones who are more at risk of being sexually harassed and abused. To this end, we will work with the various stakeholders, including the Women Forum of the NBA and FIDA, to set out and implement a clear policy as a Bar on this issue. In the short to medium term, this measure will: ensure that employers of lawyers must have a publicized sexual harassment policy in place; encourage whistle blowing; name, shame and prosecute the culprits, whilst also providing support and protection for any victim of this dastardly act.
As a responsible and humane Association, we must stop at nothing to ensure that justice is served and that this cancer is obliterated from the Bar and hopefully from the society. I give you my word that I shall lead the charge in this endeavour.