Nigerian lawmakers have passed a bill aimed at protecting students from sexual harassment in the country’s institutes of higher education, local media reported on Tuesday.

The bill was approved by the Senate, the upper house of Nigeria’s parliament, after the third reading, local daily The Nation reported.

“This is a very important legislation that this Ninth Senate has passed. We have to protect our sisters, our daughters, and our mothers from predators,” Senate President Ahmad Lawan said.

“We want our tertiary institutions to be very important, safe, and peaceful learning environment for everyone. This is legislation that will ensure that wish,” he added.

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman of the judiciary, human rights, and legal matters committee, said rampant sexual harassment at universities and colleges had damaged academic standards in the country.

He stressed the new legislation will help end the existent “hostile environment for students” in Nigeria’s educational institutions.

Separately, the House of Representatives, the parliament’s lower house, passed a resolution urging the government to set up special courts for trials of cases of rape and sexual and gender-based violence.

The lawmakers asked the government to utilize the relevant agencies to expedite hearings and prosecution of such cases, The Nation reported.

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