The Kaduna State Government has proposed life imprisonment for rapists in the new Child Right Bill forwarded to the state House of Assembly for passage into law.
The Deputy Director, Civil Litigation in the state’s Ministry of Justice, Mr. Irimiya Samson, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna.
Samson explained that the development became necessary, following incessant cases of rape, particularly of minors, being recorded daily in the state.
He noted 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.
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.’’
He added that the law also criminalised child trafficking, child labour, street hawking, and begging, which were common practices in the state.
He added, “Similarly, exposing children to obscene materials like phonographic content has also been criminalised.
“Offenders would be imprisoned or made to pay a fine of N500, 000 for individuals and between N1m and N5m for companies, plus a two-year ban.
“The proposed law also de-emphasises detaining or locking up children for juvenile offences, having realised that detention does not help the children in any way.
“What the law proposed in place of detention was community service, which in all sense could instil some level of discipline in juvenile offenders.
“Education was also covered in the law, making it mandatory for every child to acquire basic education.”
Samson also said the state government would be deeply involved in issues bordering on welfare and development of children.
According to him, based on the proposed law, the government will take away children from parents, caregivers, or guardians who fail to properly cater for the children under them.
He added that guidelines for fostering and adoption of children were provided in the bill, for people who wish to adopt or foster a child.