The Enugu State House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the Criminal Code Amendment Bill recommending life imprisonment for molestation of underaged children.

The amended bill was sponsored by the member representing Ezeagu constituency, Mr Chima Obieze at plenary in Enugu.

He noted that some of the provisions of the laws relating to the administration of the criminal justice system were not in tune with modern realities and practicability.

Obieze said that the law required necessary amendments to make them more practicable and to avoid defeating the aims for which they were originally enacted.

The lawmaker, who is also the House Committee Chairman on Works, Housing and Urban Development, said in Section 200 of the criminal code Cap 30 Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria 2004 permitted them to reproduce the provisions of the said section.

“Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 11 years is guilty of a felony and is liable to life imprisonment.

‘Prosecution for either of the offences defined in this section must begin within two months after the offence is committed.

‘A person cannot be convicted of either of the offences defined in this section upon the uncorroborated testimony of one witness.

‘Again, it is now a sad reality that not only the girl-child can be abused but also the boy child. We, therefore, amended further to hold that the section deals with both the boy-child & the girl child.

‘I have said earlier but let me reiterate; we owe our daughters, sisters, wives, sons, and mothers a duty to ensure they grow without any intimidation.

‘We can achieve this if we put in place Laws and structures that protect them from both physical & sexual abuse from birth till they get to the age of consent and choices,” he said.

Obieze said that he dedicated this new law to every girl child out there who was making efforts amidst all challenges, difficulties & ugly situations to turn out a better woman.

In another development, the member representing Enugu North Constituency, Mr. Ibenaku Onoh, said the assembly had backed the call for holistic reform of Nigerian Police Force, following the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.

Onoh argued that the need to reform the police arise from the agitations and cries of Nigerians, who had suffered injustice, brutality, intimidation and harassment from the law enforcers.

The lawmaker noted that the recent protest had once again brought to the fore the issue of state police, pointing out that the abuses and brutalities would reduce drastically if Police were controlled by the state governments.

While commending the efforts of the police force in providing security to Nigerians, especially residents of Enugu state, he, however, urged the authorities to fish out and deal with those giving the Force a bad name.

In his remark, the Speaker of the House, Chief Edward Ubosi, applauded protesters in the state for embarking on a non-violent demonstration to register their displeasure over police brutality.

Ubosi then urged the federal government to listen to the masses demanding for the reform of police to avoid future protests and agitations in the country.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Assembly adjourned its plenary to October 27.

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