Public hearing on sexual harassment bill holds Feb 17

The Senate has explained reasons it has not invited relevant stakeholders to deliberate on the social media bill, which has passed second reading on the floor of the red chamber.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, in an interview with our correspondent, in Abuja, on Monday, said his panel had, upon resumption, been busy working on the public hearing for the sexual harassment bill.

According to him, the sexual harassment bill, sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, also generated huge public interest when introduced, hence the need to do a thorough job in order to capture the views of all stakeholders.

Bamidele said, “The public hearing on the sexual harassment bill will take place on the 17th of this month. We have not fixed any date for the public hearing on the social media bill.

“The dates are fixed in order of reference; we cannot pick a date now until after the public hearing on sexual harassment bill.

“We understand the public interest that both bills generated that is why we want to satisfy all opinions.”

The committee had in November last year, deferred further legislative action on the controversial anti-social media bill sponsored by Senator Musa Sani, to January this year.

Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the decision was not unconnected with the mixed feelings expressed by members of the 14-member Senate panel, who are all lawyers, during their maiden meeting on the issue.

Although the deadline given the committee by the leadership of the Senate to submit its report lapsed, members of the panel, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said they were not in a hurry to work on the bill.

A member of the committee from the South-East geopolitical zone had said, “We had agreed tentatively to fix public hearing for January. We have to be careful so as not to be on the wrong side of history.”

Another member of the panel from the South-West, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Let me assure Nigerians that we will leave no stone unturned as far as the bill is concerned.”
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