The Senate has passed a bill amending the criminal code, changing the jail term for kidnapping from 10 years to life imprisonment.
The bill, read for the third time on Tuesday, also seeks to remove gender restrictions in the issue of rape, and recognise males as rape victims too.
Another provision of the bill is to remove the statute of limitation, which means there would be no time limit for when a rape matter can be decided.
It seeks to eliminate time frame for prosecuting cases of sexual abuse by increasing the period from two months to as many years as the victim decides to seek action.
The bill titled, “A bill for an Act to amend the Criminal Code Act CAP C.38 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004” is sponsored by Oluremi Tinubu.
Passage of the bill was sequel to the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matter by the chairman, Opeyemi Bamidele.
In his presentation, Mr Bamidele said Nigerians at the public hearing expressed divergent views as regards the proposed amendments in the bill.
The Ekiti senator also said life imprisonment has been prescribed for kidnappers.
“The bill will address lingering issues starting with statute of limitation in the prosecution of rape and as well as defilement cases and it will curb the menance which has been on the rise.
“That the statute of limitation has been omitted from the violence against persons act 2015 which is the prevailing law of the subject matter. The bill seeks to amend the criminal code act of 1916 and not that of the states. The bill when enacted will apply to the federal high court
“The senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters to which this bill was referred, having considered same, recommends as follows; that the senate pass the criminal code act CAP C38 LFN 2004 (amendment) bill 2020,” he said.
The Senate, thereafter, resolved into the Committee of the Whole to consider clauses of the bill and pass it.
The passage of the bill comes about a week after the lawmakers passed the anti-sexual harassment bill.
The bill will be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence after which it will be transmitted to the president for assent.
More details later….