OrderPaperToday– Worried by the rising incidents of child rape, the Kaduna State Government has proposed life prison sentences for rapists in a new Child’s Right Bill forwarded to the State House of Assembly.
Deputy Director, Civil Litigation in the state’s Ministry for Justice, Mr Irimiya Samson, disclosed this to newsmen in Kaduna.
Samson noted that the current penalty for rape in the Penal Code is lenient and that it has become important to make the penalty more strict to curtail the ugly trend.
He said: “The incidences of rape have become very rampant in the state. It is particularly disturbing that the offenders are mostly elderly men whose victims are toddlers, minors within the age range of three to six.
“In curbing this abominable act, the state government has decided to invoke a stiff punishment for offenders in the child right law.
“As such, when the bill is passed, anyone caught would remain behind bars for life.”
The Deputy Director added that the law also criminalises child trafficking, child labour, street hawking, and begging, which are common practices in the state.
“Similarly, exposing children to obscene materials like phonographic content has also been criminalised.
“Offenders would be imprisoned or made to pay fine of N500, 000 for individuals and one to five million for companies, plus a two-year ban.
“The proposed law also de-emphasise detaining or locking up children for juvenile offences, having realised that detention do not help the children in anyway.
“What the law proposed in place of detention is community service, which in all sense could instill some level of discipline in juvenile offenders.
“Education was also covered in the law, making it mandatory for every child to acquire basic education,” the official added.
Samson also said that the state government would be deeply involved in issues bordering on welfare and development of children.
According to him, based on the proposed law, government would take away children from parents, caregivers, or guardian who failed to properly cater for children under them.
He added that guidelines for fostering and adoption of children was provided in the bill, for people who wish to adopt or foster a child.
Recall that UNICEF, in conjunction with ministries, departments and agencies concerned with children, had in 2015 held series of meetings to push for the domestication of the Child Right Act in the state.
Key stakeholders in the various meetings, including the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), produced the redrafted law which was vetted by the Justice Ministry.