Reps. propose six months jail term for abandonment of newborn babies by parents

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BY MAYOWA SAMUEL

Uba Group

The House of Representatives has proposed a prison term of not less than six months for any parent who willfully abandons his/her newly born child for the purpose of abdicating parental responsibilities.

The Bill which passed through second reading on the floor on Tuesday, seeks to amend the Child’s Right Act, just as it proposed six months’ imprisonment or N200,000 fine for any parent who abandons a child after birth.

Sponsored by Hon. Sergius Ogun from Edo State, the Bill seeks to amend Section 14 of the Principal Act by inserting a new Subsection (3) immediately after the subsisting subsection (2).

The proposed amendment reads, “Subject to the provisions of this Act, no child shall be abandoned at the time or place of his birth, the conditions of his birth notwithstanding.

“Where a parent 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 to both such term and imprisonment”.

Leading the debate on general principles of the Bill, Ogun said the proposed legislation seeks to make provision within the Child’s Right Act against the practice of child abandonment by parents.

Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai from Delta State said while it is the duty of parents who have brought children to the world to care for them, the government too has the obligation to complement 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 argued.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Ahmed Wase, who presided over the plenary, said Ossai deviated from the proposed amendment, saying it is “seeking for punishment for abandoning newborn babies,” and not children generally.