Removes gender barrier on rape cases
Senate yesterday approved life imprisonment for convicted kidnappers in Nigeria. The apex legislative chamber also made the cases of rape to be gender inclusive in the mode of man raping woman and vice versa.
It also extended the scope of penetration in the act of rape from the conventional private parts of a woman to other areas of human body such as the mouth, ear and anus, saying that all carry jail terms based on discretions of judges.
The Upper Chamber also removed the issue of consent in the act of rape or fraudulent carnal knowledge of another person.
The Senate made these provisions during a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on
“The Criminal Code Act CAP LFN 2004 (Amendment), Bill 2020, which eventually passed third reading.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who represents Lagos Central on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
While considering the bill, the Chamber observed that “the frequency of kidnapping across the federation and the resultant trauma, not to mention the number of lives lost to the crime, makes it imperative to review our laws with a view to ensuring appropriate punishment for perpetrators as well as serve as deterrence to would be perpetrators.
“Thus, the passage of this bill would proffer a life sentence for persons found guilty of kidnapping as against the provisions of Section 364 of the Act, which proffers the punishment of imprisonment for a term of 10 years, where the offence of kidnapping is established”.
On rape cases, the Senate, through the bill, amended Sections 218 and 221 of the 1916 Criminal Code Act to do with the issue of statute of limitations by opening period for complaints on the Act from two months to whenever victims felt to voice out.
Specifically, while the Upper Chamber, through the amended Section 218 of the bill, extended the period of complaints and prosecution of rape act to whatever time complainant wants the case to be taken up, it, through amended Section 221 of the Act, removed connotations giving window of escapes to rapists at the detriment of their victims.
The provisions read: “It should be noted that the proposition to delete statute of limitation on the prosecution of offences under Sections 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code Act, is a welcome development as the statute of limitation placed on defilement and rape, negates the principle of natural law, equity and good conscience.
“Secondly, the stakeholders contended that the use of the word ‘idiot or imbecile’ in Section 221 of the Act, has pejorative connotations, which have become derogatory and obsolete.
“As such, their usage should no longer exist in our laws, hence the need for the amendment in line with modern trend in legislative and best practice world over.
“Furthermore, Section 357 of the Criminal Code Act defines rape as an offence against women.
However, in recent times, there are incidents of non-consensual sex, perpetrated against the male gender.
Therefore, the passage of this bill will ensure that our laws and jurisprudence evolve in tandem with the rest of the world”.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), who presented the report for passage of the bill, said that all its provisions, when enacted, would apply to Federal High Courts in the southern part of the country where the Criminal Code Act is applicable and operational