Senate amends Criminal Code to accommodate rape of men

The Senate has passed through second reading a bill to amend the Criminal Code Act, 2004; to amend the definition of rape to include those perpetrated against men.

The bill sponsored by Sen Oluremi Tinubu; seeks to Amend section 357 of the existing act to also include rape cases on men.

Sen Tinubu in her lead debate at the Senate said: “This definition is particularly grievous; because it perpetuates the socio-cultural belief that men do not need to consent to sexual acts. In addition, we must ensure that our laws and jurisprudence evolve with the rest of the world”.

Further, she opposed section 218 of the Act which puts the status of limitation on prosecution of rape.

Section 218 of the Criminal Code provides that; anyone who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of thirteen; or attempts same is guilty of a felony and liable to life imprisonment; or fourteen years imprisonment respectively; provided that the prosecution is commenced within two months after the offence is committed.

Opposing the section at the Senate, she said; “What this does is impose a statute of limitation on prosecution of these offences. This bar to prosecution negates the principles of natural law, equity and good conscience.

“This is untenable in a country where investigations often take longer than two months. 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 development and innovation in forensic technology; and the accessibility or otherwise of such infrastructure in Nigeria; rushed investigations with a view to commencing prosecution within a two month period leave the possibility of a huge margin for error.

“In the event that the Police proceeds to prosecute outside the two (2) months; all that it will take to dispel the entire charge is a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Court; on the basis that it was brought outside of the time allowed by law.”

Section 221 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 of sixteen; an ‘idiot or imbecile’, he shall be liable to imprisonment for a period of two years…

Subsequently, it has been amended to substitute the words ‘idiot or imbecile also’ with the words ‘mentally challenged’.

“While words like idiot, moron, and imbecile were professionally used to measure IQ; they have acquired pejorative connotations, become derogatory and obsolete; and should no longer be contained in our laws,” she said.

She also proposed the increment to the penalty attached to kidnapping contained in Section 364. Specifically, this is currently an imprisonment term of ten years.

Ng daily

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