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Bill to compensate victims of crime passes second reading

Reps approve presidential declaration of 10 new national parks

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed through second reading a bill seeking to provide compensation to victims of crime, and reduce the menace in the society.

The proposed law is tilted; “Bill for an Act to Establish Rights for Victims of Crime to Provide for the Rights, Welfare and Compensation of victims of Crime and provide for the strengthening of the Criminal Justice System; and for Related Matters.”

Sponsored by Henry Archibong from Akwa-Ibom, the bill seeks the establishment of a department in the Ministry of Justice to be called ‘Victims’ Right and Compensation Regulatory Department (VRCRD)’.

The department is to be saddled with the responsibility of investigating complaints from victims of crime or other members of the public.

The piece of legislation provides that a spouse or relative can exercise a victim’s right if the victim dies or becomes incapable of acting on his or her own as a result of the crime.

The bill defines victims as persons who have “suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of his or her fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of our criminal laws.”

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Also, the House received the report of the committee on human rights on a bill for an Act to amend the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, No. 4 of 2015.

The amendment seeks to include the federal ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management and social development in the governing board of trafficking prohibition.

It also aims at reviewing the mode of appointing the Director General of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP), to strengthen the Act by reviewing the offences and penalty provisions.

Laid by John Dyegh, chairman of the human rights committee, the report would be considered later at the committee of the whole for approval and subsequent passage.