The Sokoto State House of Assembly has passed the Bill for a law to supplement the provisions of the Penal Code Law, 2019, and provide for punishment of offences relating to Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
This development followed a motion moved by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader of the Assembly, Alhaji Bello Ambarura (APC-Illela) after the consideration of the House Committee on Judiciary, Justice and Human Rights report.
Presenting the report, the Committee Chairman, Alhaji Maidawa Kajiji (APC-Shagari) said the committee consulted all stakeholders to ensure proper recommendations on the bill.
He said the committee recommended that an interpretation section be created in the bill on all phrases relating to violence against persons, including abandonment of women, children, circumcision of a girl or women, domestic relationship and violence.
“That a provision for compensation of victims be created in which for all offences in the law, the court shall in addition to penalties, provide for the offences, award appropriate compensation to the victim as it may deem fit in the circumstance.
“For whoever commit rape shall be punished with imprisonment for life or for a term of not less than 21 years provided that the offender is 14 years of age, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not more than 14 years, while below shall be less than 12 years.
“However, in the case of rape by group of persons, the offenders are jointly liable to a term of imprisonment of not less than 25 years without an option of fine, while any person who rapes a child shall be liable to life imprisonment,” he said.
Kajiji added that a register for convicted sexual offenders should be maintained in the bill and made accessible to the public.
“Moreover, a person who performs female circumcision or mutilation commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding four years or fine not less than N200,000 or both.
“Also a person who abandons a wife or husband, children or other dependents without any means of sustenance shall serve imprisonment term not exceeding three years or fine not exceeding N500,000 or both and pay compensation in addition,” he said.
The lawmaker further said that a provision for the establishment of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) offenses response team in each of the three Senatorial Districts be provided in the bill.
“This is to include a representative of the ministries of justice, women and children affairs, social welfare and health as well as Nigeria Police, Civil Defense Corps and CSOs.
“The team shall be responsible for monitoring of the SGBV cases, to provide legal, medical, emergency assistance, counseling and psychological and psycho-social support to survivors,” he added.
The members unanimously accepted the committee’s 34 recommendations on the bill in a voice vote presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Alhaji Abubakar Magaji.