On Tuesday, a Bill to review Criminal Code Act for rape and kidnapping sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu has passed second reading.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu wants Criminal Code Act Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, amended.
It seeks to have the portions of Sections 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code deleted; to amend the definition of rape as contained in Section 357, and also, to increase punishment for kidnapping in Section 364.
In her lead debate on the bill, Mrs Tinubu pointed out that rape as defined in the main Act made it a crime committed against women alone.
According to the Criminal Code, a man commits rape when he has carnal knowledge of a woman against her will, without her consent, or if that consent was gotten by coercion.
She said, “The Criminal Code Act defines rape in Section 357 as an offence against women. However, times indicate that there are incidents of non-consensual sex perpetrated against the male gender.
She opposed that definition as grievous because it perpetuates the socio-cultural belief that men do not need to consent to sexual acts. She further argued that we must ensure that our laws and jurisprudence evolve with the rest of the world.
She argued that for kidnapping, Section 364 gives a punishment of imprisonment for a term of 10 years where a crime of kidnap is established.
Her bill agitates and proffers a life sentence for persons found guilty of kidnapping.”
She backed up this argument by saying that armed robbery’s punishment is 21 years imprisonment or death. She said things stole by armed robbers are replaceable things but kidnapping involves the stealing of human breath, how then will punishment for armed robbery be more than that of kidnapping? she further agitated for life imprisonment for kidnap when established by the relevant law enforcement agency after thorough investigation.