The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has forwarded a Child Right Bill which proposes a punishment as stiff as a life sentence for rapists, who perpetuate child abuse to be passed into law by the State House of Assembly.
This was announced by the Deputy Director, Civil Litigation in the state’s Ministry for Justice, Mr. Irimiya Samson, who told newsmen in Kaduna that the development became necessary, following incessant cases of rape, particularly of minors, being recorded daily in the state, adding that the current penalty for rape in the Penal Code was very light, as such it was important to make the law more strict to curtail the ugly trend.
In his statement Mr. Samson 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.”
He explained that in order to curb such abominable child abuse, the state government has decided to invoke the severe punishment for offenders in the child right law, and when the bill is passed, anyone caught would remain behind bars for life.
“The law also criminalise child trafficking, child labour, street hawking, and begging, which are common practices in the state.
“Similarly, exposing children to obscene materials like pornographic 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.”
Samson added that education was also covered in the law, which mandated parents or guardian to send children to school to acquire basic education. Hence, he said state government would be deeply involved in issues bordering on welfare and development of children.
Based on the proposed child abuse law, the director said 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.