Senate has passed a bill which prescribes life jail, as against the current 10 years maximum sentence, for kidnappers.
The bill contains amendments to the criminal code which is currently in operation in the southern part of Nigeria.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, is titled, “A bill for an Act to amend the Criminal Code Act CAP. C.38, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004.”
It seeks to delete the statute of limitation on defilement, increase punishment for the offence of kidnapping, and remove gender restrictions in the offence of rape and other related matters.
The bill eliminates time frame for prosecuting defilement cases by increasing the period from two months to as many years as the victim decide to take up the manner.
It also removes gender restrictions on the offence of rape by explaining that both male and female could be raped.
The passage of the bill followed presentation of report by the chairman of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, during plenary.
The bill sponsor, Tinubu, had explained that the bill sought to delete certain provisions of Section 218 on defilement which states that;
A prosecution for either of the offences defined in this section shall be begun within two months after the offence is committed imposed a limit for the prosecution of offences on defilement and created a huge margin for inaccuracy.
Section 221 of the bill which the Senate also deleted deals with offences against morality.
The provision states that;
(1) Any person who has or attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl being of or above thirteen years and under sixteen years of age and;
(2) knowing a woman or girl to be an idiot or imbecile, has or attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of her; is guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to imprisonment for two years, with or without caning.
Senate said that subsection (1) of the bill is amended to include a “Minor”, and the terms “imbecile” and “idiot” in subsection (2) connote derogatory remarks and therefore are substituted with the word “mentally challenged.”
In addition, Section 357 which deals with sexual assaults on females is amended to indicate incidences of non-consensual sex perpetrated against a boy or man, whereas, Section 364 of the Principal Act is amended to proffer life sentences for persons found guilty of kidnapping.
Senate stated that the amendment and passage of the bill became necessary due to incessant cases of kidnapping, rape and defilement across the country.
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