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Representatives are considering criminalizing abandonment of births, and violators face the risk of 6 months imprisonment

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved a bill for a second reading to criminalize the abandonment of newborn children by parents.

The bill, if passed, would impose a fine of 200,000 naira or six months imprisonment for anyone found guilty of abandoning a child after birth.

The sponsor of the bill, Sergius Ogun, in his keynote discussion, stated that the bill seeks to amend the Child Rights Act by introducing punishment.

This bill, therefore, seeks to specifically enshrine in the Child Rights Act against the practice of parental abandonment of a child, by introducing a new subsection 3 in the existing Section 14 of the Act.

Subject to the provisions of this law, no child may be abandoned at the time of his birth, despite the condition of his birth.

“When a parent abandons a child at the place of his birth, he is guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to pay a fine.” [of] N200,000 or imprisonment for 6 months or both,” the proposed section reads.

Speaking in support of the bill, Nicholas Osai said the government had a responsibility to support families with childcare. He stated that with the increase in unemployment, many parents do not have work to support their families.

“It is the duty of the parents to bring the child into the world to fulfill the needs of that ward/child. The government also has the responsibility to complete the duty of the parents. Everyone has a duty,” he said.

The bill climbed on first reading after Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Idris Wise called it into question.

Representatives are considering criminalizing abandonment of births, and violators face the risk of 6 months imprisonment

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