ABUJA-A women interest group under the aegies of Nigeria Female Youth Organisation,NFYO, has appealed to the House of Representatives to enlarged the Sexual Harassment Bill in Tertiary Institutions pending before it by including secondary and special schools.
The bill which was passed a fortnight ago by the Senate,is still pending in the lower legislative chamber.
Speaking at a news conference, it organised in collaboration with Michelles Youth Initiative for Sustainable Development,MYISD,Friday in Abuja, President NFYO, Mimi Peter, insisted that the areas of the bill be be broaden to cover secondary and special schools given that sexual assaults were equally visible in these other schools.
While noting that the bill would restore sanity to schools, the group also expressed optimism that when passed into law,the bill will create conducive atmosphere for learning and dignity of grades earned by female students.
Mimi who urged the House of Representatives to complement the good work of the Senate and pass the Sexual Harassment Bill and on time, further called on the National Assembly to pass a law prohibiting rape offenders from holding public or political offices.
“We are happy knowing that with this Bill, sexual harassment will no longer be a norm in our tertiary institutions.
“We call on the National Assembly (House of Representatives) to broaden the scope of the Bill and include secondary schools and schools for special children.
“It is our opinion that rape offenders should be prohibited from public service, as no such persons should be allowed access to appointments and political offices,” she said.
Furthermore, the group urged the Federal Government to make sex and reproductive health education compulsory in secondary schools, and equally undertake regular monitoring of morals in schools
“Sex and reproductive health education should be made compulsory in post primary schools. Observing that the role of guardians and councilors in our schools should be reintroduced, strengthened and more emphasis on moral education made.
“We call on the Ministry of Education to create a monitoring team to evaluate the effort of heads of post primary school in promoting good moral in our educational institutions.”
Vice President NFYO, Joshua Favour Kaun who urged all states to domesticate the Child Rights Act and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAP) Act, warned that the issue of Rape was a ticking time bomb which must be immediately addressed to forestall grave consequences.
“The cases of rape keeps increasing day by day in hundreds and thousands are we going to wait until we have the cases in millions in the country?
“Every law passed is for our benefit and welfare, security, peace and progress of our nation.
“If the VAP Act of 2015 and the Child Rights Act are not domesticated in our states, we will keep on having this issue and the cases will keep on increasing because no measure has been put in place to curtail it now that it is at its foundation.
“We have to put measures to protect the interest of our people. Its no longer funny because the world is no longer safe to breathe in. We are all sitting on a ticking time bomb which is ready to explode in our faces if this is not curtailed.”
Favour, who called for engagement of professionals in the Guidance and Counselling units in schools, maintained that could assist in breaking the silence of rape victims which could further help in bringing the perpetrators of the heinous act to book.