Reps mull criminalizing abandonment of newborn babies, offenders risk 6 months jail
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, passed a bill for a second reading to criminalise the abandonment of newborn babies by parents.
The bill, if passed will introduce a fine of N200,000 or six months imprisonment for anyone convicted of abandoning a child after childbirth.
The sponsor of the bill, Sergius Ogun, in his lead debate, stated that the bill seeks to amend the Child Rights Act by introducing punishment.
"This bill, therefore, seeks to specifically make provision within the Child Right Act against the practice of child abandonment by parents, by introducing a new Subsection 3 into the extant Section 14 of the Act.
"Subject to the provision of this act, no child shall be abandoned at the time of place of birth, the condition of his birth notwithstanding.
"When a parent abandons a child at the place of his birth, he/she shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction shall be liable to fine [of] N200,000 or imprisonment for 6 months or both," the proposed section reads.
Speaking in support of the bill, Nicholas Ossai said the government has a responsibility to support families in taking care of children. He stated that with growing unemployment, a lot of parents have no job to support their families.
"It is the duty of parents that brings a child to the world to cater for that ward/child. The government also has a responsibility to complement the duty of parents. Every person has an obligation," he said.
The bill scaled the first reading after Deputy Speaker Idris Wase put it to question.
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