Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, moved to strengthen laws against electoral offences and kidnapping.
It also approved the removal of the two-month statute of limitation in the prosecution of rape offenders as contained in the Criminal Code Act.
The upper legislative chamber also approved a proposal that kidnapers should be jailed for life as against the provision 10-year imprisonment in the current law.
The positions of the Senate was sequel to its consideration of a Bill which sought to delete the Statute of Limitation on defilement and provide for life imprisonment for kidnapping in the Criminal Code Act respectively.
Titled: “A Bill for an Act to amend the Criminal Code Act CAP C38 LFN 2004 to delete the Statute of Limitation on defilement, increase in punishment for the offences of kidnapping, remove gender restrictions in the offence of rape and for related matters, 2019”, it was sponsored by the senator representing Lagos Central, Oluremi Tinubu.
In her lead debate, she said the amendment being sought is to “delete portions of Sections 218 and 221, amend the definition of rape as contained in Section 357 and increase punishment for the offence of kidnap in Section 364.”
According to her, the globally accepted aims of criminal law and the criminal justice system include deterrence, retribution, restoration, and rehabilitation of offenders.
She said the criminal justice system ought to deliver substantial justice and closure to the victim, the offender and the State.
“Where a law fails to achieve any of these, it is inherently faulty, hence the need for amendment,” Tinubu said.
She noted that Section 218 of the Criminal Code provided that anyone who had unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 13 or attempted same would be guilty of a felony and liable to life imprisonment or 14 years imprisonment respectively.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who presided, called on the relevant government bodies, including security agencies, to bring the killers of Kogi woman burnt to death to justice.
He said election violence has no party colouration. He urged politicians to promote election-free violence during any poll.
Lawan said: “No party is absolved from this blame. Politicians should promote election that doesn’t have violence. Those who perpetuated election violence in Kogi and Bayelsa during the last elections must be punished and brought to law.”
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who kicked off the debate while contributing to a point of order raised by another lawmaker, warned of the dire consequences of the growing violence is not tamed.
He said the law must be applied by security agencies in dealing with agents of violence during any election.
Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, accused politicians of promoting violence during elections. He said though violence during elections had always existed, it has assumed a worrisome dimension under the current administration.