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The Senate on Thursday passed the bill for an Act to prohibit violence against persons with provisions strengthening sanctions against offenders, including life jail for rapists.
 The bill, sponsored by Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, was passed at Thursday’s plenary and it was approved with  favourable voice votes.
 Speaking at the session, Senate President, David Mark, said the legislation would address some of the evil customs of the society, adding that the law would sufficiently protect the people from the excesses of such devilish people.
 The legislation seeks to eliminate violence in private and public life.
 It specifically prohibits all forms of violence, ranging from physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices and discrimination, against persons.
  The proponents of the bill had argued that the right of persons to freedom and security must be guaranteed.
 Sections one and two of the legislation have now increased punishment for rape and other forceful sexual activities.
 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 imprisonment.
 “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.
 Similarly, a bill for an Act to amend the 1999 Constitution to correct a fundamental spelling error in the name of Atisbo Local Government Area of Oyo State was passed.
 The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ayo Agboola (PDP-Oyo), averred that the error had affected the status of the local government, its peoples and adjoined towns.
 The bill did not attract any objection and therefore made to scale through second reading.
 In a related development, the bill for an Act to repeal the Insurance Brokers Act of 2003 was stood down for further consultation to be made.
 Sen. Adegbenga Kaka (APC-Ogun), sponsor of the bill, held that legal document when approved would bestow the insurance industry a robust network to grow the sector.
 According to him, the bill seeks for insurance and broken companies to be registered in personal names.
 Kaka said the document made liability owners to become limited, adding that the Board would therefore become more responsive and diligent.
 He said the proposed Act had raised the share capital in the industry to N10 million as against the former N5 million.
The bill had also jerked up the indemnity cover from N10 million to N100 million for effective performance.
 On his part however, Sen. Ita Enang (PDP-Akwa Ibom) countered some of the issues raised in the document.
 Enang said “the bill could have been to amend and not to repeal the Insurance Broker Act of 2003.This bill is in direct clash with the existing Act.
 “President of the Senate, this bill arrogates the power to the operators to operate and to regulate, we know this cannot be done,’’ he said
 Also Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi) also projected some of the short falls in the bill, adding that it required some fine tuning.
 It was at this point that the President of the Senate, David Mark tactically came to the rescue of the bill by seeking the sponsor to stand it down to another legislative day.
 “At this point it may be necessary for Senator Kaka to withdraw further presentation of the bill to seek further consultation,’’  Mark said.
 Also stood down is a bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) to train, educate and re-orient the youths of the nation.
 Another bill for an Act to amend the treaties (making procedure) 2004 was also stood down.
 It seeks to make the National Assembly as a mandatory part of the treaty-making procedure to all treaties entered into between Nigeria and other countries.
 The Committee report on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on allegation of wrongful dismissal against the police was deferred.
 Also deferred was a report of the joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matters and State and Local Government on Border Communities’ Development Agency Act .
SOURCE: DAILY TIMES

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