The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill prohibiting persons convicted of sexual offences from working with children, either as a teacher in schools or under any other job description likely to expose children to any form of abuse such as rape.
The passage of the Child Rights Act, 2003 (Amendment) Bill, 2020, followed a clause-by-clause consideration of a report by the Committee on Women Affairs, Chaired by Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP, Cross River West).
The Upper Chamber in an amendment to Section 195 of the Principal Act, inserted a new clause 195A which provides that: “In Criminal proceedings, a person will be found unsuitable to work with children – (a) on conviction of murder, attempted murder, rape, indecent assault or assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm with regards to a child; or
“(b) Persons whom the court have deemed incapable of understanding proceedings or entering a proper Defence due to mental illness as ruled by the court especially in matters which constitute murder, attempted rape, indecent or other sexual Offences with intent to do grievous bodily harm where the court would have convicted such persons but for the Defence of mental illness.”
The Senate with the introduction of Clause 2 listed the categories of persons unsuitable to work with children as: “Any person who has been convicted of murder, attempted rape, indecent assault or sexual Offences with the intent to do grievous bodily harm with regard to a child during the five years preceding the commencement of this amendment.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in a brief remark after the bill was passed, said, “there was prevalence of rape, especially of young children and in our institutions as well.”
“So, this amendment is going to cure those kind of societal ills that will keep away those rapists from our children,” he added.