Last month, the Nigerian Senate passed the Sexual Offences Bill, and I was so glad when I read the provisions of the bill and how it protects the girl child.
Sponsored by Senator Chris Anyanwu, the bill among other things covers punishments for offences such as gang rape, lacing drinks with drugs with intent to sexually abuse, deliberately infecting partner with HIV and other diseases, child sex tourism, sexual harassment and prostitution of persons with mental disabilities.
However, since the passing of the bill there has been a controversy over a provision of the bill which some people have interpreted as saying it is lawful for children between between the ages of 11 and 18 to be defiled. But as it is sometimes with the passing of information, perhaps the full provisions of the law were not passed when such news hit the press.
This is the part that generated some controversy:
“A person who commits an offence of defilement with a child aged eleven years or less shall upon conviction be sentenced to imprisonment”.
And so, some people started asking about the provisions of the bill for children aged between eleven and eighteen.
I just read the document and it does make provisions for children up to eighteen years with punishment for the offenders. Here is a screenshot of the bill which I found here: http://www.nass.gov.ng/document/download/1347
Also, its great to know that among other bills recently signed into law by the 7th Senate before it was dismissed was the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill. This bill prohibits female circumcision, forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices.
I’m glad we are moving in the right direction with the necessary laws to protect our children and those who cannot protect themselves.