Senate amends Child’s Right Act, passes Older Persons rights, privileges Bill

By Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Senate on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Child’s Right Act of 2003 making anyone convicted of sexual offence unfit to work with children.

The upper chamber also passed the Older Persons (Rights and Privileges) Bill 2020.

This followed the presentation of reports on the Bills by the Chairman Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Senator Betty Apiafi, during plenary.

The lawmaker noted that the amendment to the Child’s Right Act would further give protection to the Nigerian child against any form of sexual violence and abuse suffered in the hands of caregivers and others.

The Bill provides that “any person who has been convicted of murder, attempted rape, indecent assault or sexual offences with the intent to do grievous bodily harm with regard to a child during the five years preceding the commencement of this amendment is deemed to have been found unsuitable to work with children.”

In a similar vein, the Bill on Older Persons (Right and Privileges) is aimed at addressing the social and economic challenges triggered by aging and the need for government to formulate policies that would incorporate the elderly and cater for their well-being.

The bill provides for a fine of N2 million or N200, 000 from organisations or individuals respectively found to have discriminated against older persons.

According to the Bill, “without prejudice to this Bill, any prosecution, conviction or otherwise of any person for any offence under this Bill, does not preclude the right of the victim to maintain a civil action against any such person committing the offence or causing injury.”

It added that “older persons have the right to social protection, including income security without discrimination on the basis of age, gender or health status.”

Other benefits sought in the Bill include: “Enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health and long term care without discrimination on the basis of age, including public health, preventive medicine, palliative care and rehabilitation free of cost under the aegis of the NHIS.

“Government shall ensure that older persons enjoy the right to adequate standard of living, including the right to food, water, clothing and housing and to improve their living conditions without discrimination on the basis of age.

“Government shall ensure the provision of seats in walkways, other public facilities specifically designed for the comfort of older persons.”


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