The Senate toughened Nigeria’s response to violence Thursday, approving new sanctions for a range of offences including rape which will now be punished with life imprisonment.
The bill, sponsored by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, will address some of the evil customs of the society, and would sufficiently protect people from the excesses of “devilish people”, Senate President, David Mark, said.
Lawmakers said the bill seeks to eliminate violence in private and public life.
It specifically prohibits all forms of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices and discrimination, against persons.
Proponents of the bill argued that the right of persons to freedom and security must be guaranteed.
Sections one and two of the bill increased punishment for rape and other sexual offences.
A person convicted under the section, according to the bill, is liable to imprisonment for life.
However, where the victim is less than 14 years of age, the offender shall be liable to a minimum of 14 years in jail.
“Where the act described under this section is committed by a group of persons, the offence shall be known as gang rape.
“And on conviction the persons shall be liable jointly and severally to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
“The court shall also award appropriate compensation to the victim as it may deem fit in the circumstance,” according to the bill.
The bill will require a similar passage by the House of Representatives and the president’s signature to become effective.