By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Abuja—A bill seeking to criminalize the abandonment of newly born babies by parents with a penalty of six months jail term, yesterday, passed for second reading at the House of Representatives.
Tilted, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Child Rights Act, Cap. C50, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to impose sanction on any parent who abandons a new born child and absconds after birth; and for Related Matters (HB. 1442),” it was sponsored by Sergius Ogun.
In the lead debate on the general principle of the bill at plenary, Ogun said the bill craved for a minor amendment to the Child’s Right Act to stop parents from abandoning their child after delivery.
He said a new sub-section 3 would be introduced into the extant section 14 of the principal Act, explaining that the new sub-section would stipulate that a parent who abandons a child at the time or place of his birth, he shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction be liable to fine of two hundred thousand naira or imprisonment for six months or both.
In his contribution to the bill, Ossai Nicholas Ossai also supported the bill.
“I support this bill, I further add that it’s a duty of parents who have brought children to world to care for them. But at the same time government has a duty to also compliment the duty of parents. Every person has obligation to contribute to society. We have social security in USA. Whereby you are not working and you are not able to take care of your child, social security is there. It is in that principle that majority of our northern states are yet to domesticate this law, this law must have a human face,” he said.
But in his remarks, the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over the session countered Ossai on the domestication of the bill, saying he veered off from the current debate.
The bill was later put to a voice vote, where a majority of the lawmakers supported it through second reading.