The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill which amends eight sections of the Criminal Code Act, especially in relation to rape and kidnapping in the country.

The Criminal Code Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central – APC), was read for the third time and passed by lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday, July 17, 2020.

A major amendment in the bill is the removal of gender-restrictive language that previously specified that only girls and women could be victims of rape.

The bill also removes the statute of limitations which stipulated that cases of defilement of girls under 16 years of age must be prosecuted within two months after the offence is committed.

The bill also replaces with “mentally challenged” a section of the Criminal Code Act which forbade unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl known ‘to be an idiot or imbecile’.

The bill also changes the jail term for kidnapping from 10 years to life imprisonment.

While presenting the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central – APC), said the bill will curb the menace of sex crimes in the country.

The bill will be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence, and then to President Muhammadu Buhari to either sign it into law or reject it.