The House of Representatives is considering a bill seeking to amend the Sexual Offences Act 2015, to specify age of consent and who is a minor in sexual crimes prosecution.
The move, according to the Sexual Offences Act (Amendment) Bill 2019, sponsored by the lawmaker representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa Federal Constituency of Oyo State, Mr Shina Peller, is to amend the ambiguous definition of a minor in the Sexual Offences Act.
The bill, which passed the first reading on July 24, 2019, is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Sexual Offence Act 2015 and for Other Related Matters, 2019.’
If the amendment bill is passed by the House as proposed, and concurred with by the Senate, anybody younger than 18 would be categorised as a minor under the law regardless of religious, marital and other considerations.
The explanatory note on the bill read, “This bill seeks to amend sections 7(2), 7(3) and 7(4) of the Sexual Offences Act and to delete superfluous provisions which may be misleading and fail to convey the draftsman’s intent, thereby altering the meaning/application of the section and replacing same with a more appropriate provision.”
Peller had in his motion adopted by the House on July 18, 2019, decried the confusion in the principal Act.
The lawmaker, in his lead debate, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, said, “The House is further worried that there is a lack of clarity on the issue of the legal age of consent to sexual activity in Nigeria, which is an issue of grave importance in our society.”