The Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, passed for the third reading a bill that will ensure that convicted kidnappers are sentenced to life in prison.
This bill, sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central, is an amendment to the Criminal Code Act Cap.C38, 2004.
The bill explains that it is necessary to review the law due to frequent kidnapping cases across states of the federation, which have claimed multiple lives and have scarred survivors and their families. It is, therefore, important to ensure that perpetrators of the crime are punished appropriately.
Kidnapping is seen as an act of terrorism by Nigeria’s Terrorism Act 2011, and recommends 10 years of jail time for any individual found guilty.
However, if this new bill is signed into law by President Buhari, every convicted kidnapper will spend the rest of their lives in prison.
In addition, the bill also touches on the cases of rape and other sexual offences. It seeks to remove the statute of limitation on defilement and remove gender restrictions in rape and sexual assault offences.
What this means is that the bill recognises that both men and women could be raped.
Amendment to Section 357 of the principal Acts replaces “woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent”, with “any person, without consent, or with consent.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Senate had earlier passed an anti-sexual harassment bill aimed at protecting students against sexual harassment by lecturers. Read more about it here.