Senate nods sexual, gender-based violence bill for secondary schools

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On Wednesday, the Nigerian Senate passed the bill seeking to mandate the teaching of sexual and gender-based violence in secondary schools across the country.

The Senate while passing the bill said compulsory inclusion of the SGBV in school curriculum will expose secondary students to the dangers involved in committing such acts.

The bill was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ibrahim Gobir, and titled “Mandatory Inclusion of Preventive Measures on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence into the Curriculum of all levels of Secondary Schools in Nigeria Bill, 2023.”

It was passed at Wednesday’s plenary session which was presided over by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

“It is now important for authorities of secondary schools to include lessons on how to prevent sexual and gender-based violence in their curriculum for students,” Gobir said while leading the debate on the bill.

“Compulsory inclusion of the SGBV in school curriculum will expose secondary students to the dangers involved in committing the act.

According to him, making such mandatory would curb the rising occurrence of SGBV and will further address child protection rights and related issues such as sexual violence, rape and harassment.

“It is cost-effective, timely and sustainable. Like it is said, ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’ The bill, when enacted, will tackle the prevalent issues of the SGBV and will further address child protection rights and related issues such as sexual violence, rape and harassment,” he buttressed.

“To reduce cases of the SGBV and its related offence, experts have mentioned that individuals, groups and systematic interventions should be implemented in schools and must include students, teachers, administrators and parents’ participation.

“This is one of the systematic approaches to tackling this issue by early intervention by catching them young with this enlightenment which will also put our children on their toes to detect the red flags and be on guard. This will also avail them of the opportunity to referral pathways for reportage.

“The goal is to have at least 80 per cent of all the participating students achieving satisfactory knowledge within 12 months of the rollout to each cohort. When they learn, they will pass to their siblings, friends and generations. This is a more sustainable systematic approach to solving this problem.”

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