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The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a Bill to criminalize child abandonment in Nigeria.

Sponsor of the bill, Mr. Sergius Ogun, said the ”Bill for an Act to Amend the Child Rights Act, Cap. C50, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”, seeks to impose sanction on any parent who abandons a new born and absconds after birth.

Mr. Ogun explained that the Bill is proposing a punishment or a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment for six months or both.

“This Bill therefore seeks to specifically make provision within the child right Act against the practice of child abandonment by parents, by introducing a new subsection 3 into the extant section 14 of the act”.

Contributing to the debate, a member from Delta State, Mr. Nicholas Ossai, noted that though it was the duty of parents to cater for a child, the government also has a duty to complement the duty of parents.

“Imagine a father who has brought out a child into the world and has no work for the past eight years. It is the duty of that government to help that father and the child”, he said.

The Bill was referred to the committee on women affairs.

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