It is Day 9 of Ramadan and I feel like I am on fast forward! Work is still in a lull and I am thankful. Found this wonderful blogger (Verastically Living) again, actually she found me!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
So Lagos State now has a new Criminal law. The Bill is about to be signed or has been signed (not sure on its status, I will confirm and update). The gist of the Bill is that the old Criminal Code in force in the whole of Nigeria was made in 1914! Almost a hundred years old and you wonder why the country is over-run with criminals! The Code is archaic and cannot continue to be relevant given today's realities. The truth is the law is always reactive and the police cannot arrest people for crimes that are not defined in an Act or a Law! Gbam.
The joyful news of this Bill that has got me so excited is the crimes that it includes. The fines have been reviewed upwards (thankfully). If you have some downtime, you should look at the Criminal Code, some of its provisions and fines are laughable! Oh my, I was expecting the usual suspect of computer generated crimes, hacking, unlawful use of computer to perpetuate fraud etc. But the shocker is that it also provides for, wait for it... (circa 'How I met your mother') desertion!
You know, when a man impregnates a woman and flees, yes that's the desertion I am talking about! It protects married and unmarried women. So all those men that practice their Houdini moves when their wives are in gestation period with quintuplets and quadruplets had better start having a rethink! They will be jailed. And those brothers that always feel like they have taken plenty smarties in their youth and can 'chop and clean mouth' with a claim of "I wasn't the only one or it's not mine", better start wearing the rubber. Honestly, I can't wait to start broadcasting these sections of the Criminal law to 'hapless' sisters. (Caveat o! This law applies only in Lagos o. So, the brothers in other parts of the country can continue their wicked ways as long as they don't stray into Lagos. Hehehe)
It also provides for aggravated hassling/assault (I wonder if those guys in the markets shouting "My colour" and forcefully touching women can be included in this category). Another wonderful provision is the criminalisation of the harassment of debtors! Do you know anyone who is being harassed over an unpaid debt? Well smile now, because you can report the person causing the harassment to the police! The courts have since denounced the act of using the police to harass debtors but with no law to back them up, it amounted to a barking toothless bulldog. I pity all those ignorant Landlords.
One may wonder the enforceability of these provisions in a society fraught with random acts like these that are now seen as normal and deeply embedded in the fabric of the society. I think the first step has been established, getting the law on board. Then a sensitization of the populace of their rights and the contents of the Law. I hope with time we can bring the intendment of the law into fruition. Until then, three Gbosas for the Fashola administration for this wonderful review. I hope the other state governments emulate this feat.
Enjoy what's left of the week.