A bill which seeks to remove gender restrictions on rape offences and also proposes stiffer penalties for kidnapping has passed its second reading on the floor of the Nigerian senate.
The bill which recognizes males as rape victims and also seeks to remove the statute of limitation in cases of defilement was sponsored by senator representing Lagos central Oluremi Tinubu.
Oluremi Tinubu in her lead debate said section 218 of the criminal code constitutes a limitation to the prosecution of an offender as it only allows for only two months after the offence is committed.
“This is untenable in a country where investigations often take longer than two months”, Tinubu said.
“Considering the shortage of police personnel, relative to our population as prescribed by international standards, the two months limitation is unlikely to be met at all.
“With the development and innovation in forensic technology and the accessibility or otherwise of such infrastructure in Nigeria, rushed investigations with a view to commencing prosecutions within a two month period leave a possibility of a huge margin for error.”
The bill also seeks an amendment to section 221 of the criminal code which provides that “where a person has or attempts carnal knowledge of a girl being of or above the age of thirteen and under the age sixteen, an ‘idiot or imbecile’, he shall be liable to imprisonment for a period of two years provided that the prosecution is commenced within two months after the offence is committed.”
The Lagos Senator stated that “there are incidents of non-consensual sex perpetrated against the male gender” and further described the criminal code act which defines rape as an offence against women as “grievous”. She said it promotes the socio-cultural belief that men do not need to consent to sexual acts.
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