7th July, 2010
IfÂ the Criminal Law Bill currently being deliberated by the Lagos State House of Assembly sails through, then many parents in the state would face various prison terms for beating up their kids.
The bill has prescribed prison terms for various offences including the beating or flogging of children by their parents.
The bill also sees the maltreatment of animals as a criminal offence while the culprits are liable to imprisonment.
It also seeks to legalise abortion but this is limited to incidents of rape and incest.
This was made known at a public hearing on the bill for a law to enact rules on criminal conduct, regulate public order and for other connected purposes with the title: â€œThe Criminal Law of Lagos State 2010â€.
The bill, if passed into law, would also promote an orderly society, foster collective obligation and duty towards the preservation and protection of life and property.
It would also discourage and deal with conducts that unjustifiably and inexcusably inflict or threaten substantial harm to individual or public interests.
The bill also seeks to look at persons whose conducts indicate that they are disposed to commit offences.
The bill which is divided into nine parts, 48 chapters and 414 sections, classifies offences into three types namely: felony, misdemeanours and simple offences.
Section eight of the bill defines felony as â€œany offence which is declared by law to be a felony, or is punishable, without proof of previous conviction with death or with imprisonment for three years or more.
â€œAll offences, other than felonies and misdemeanours are simple offences.â€
However, some Lagosians who attended the public hearing advocated for the abolishment of capital punishment, life imprisonment, and called for the legalisation of abortion in cases of incest, rape, HIV/AIDS and other unusual circumstances.
According to them, the maximum prison sentence for offenders should be put at 20 years since criminals could be reformed and make meaningful contribution to the society after serving their prison terms.
Professor Adedokun Adeyemi of the University of Lagos, while commenting on the issue said, â€œdeath penalty does not affect the rate of criminality and Lagos in the 21st century should not adopt it.â€