Representatives offer 6 months of community service for people who attempt suicide

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a second reading bill that aims to provide for mandatory counseling and community services for a period of at least six months for people who attempt suicide.

The private member’s bill sponsored by the Hon. Francis Waive seeks to amend the ‘Criminal Code Act Cap 2004, to provide more rational sentencing for the offense of attempted suicide and related matters.’

Leading the debate on its general principles, Hon. Waive explained that the bill seeks to amend section 327 of the Criminal Code Act 2004, which provides that: “Any person who attempts to commit suicide is guilty of an offense and liable to a penalty of ‘imprisonment of one year’.

While noting that section 327 of the Criminal Code provides reckless treatment for anyone who attempts suicide, he however observed that the bill “suggests that suicidal people are in need of treatment, counseling and assistance effective and not sanctions.

“Penalizing a suicide attempt is not a method of prevention, but the law should order the competent authorities to help traumatized perpetrators.

Self-destructive behavior is often a cry for help since suicide is primarily an indication of underlying mental and psychological disorders.

“Criminal laws are better suited to prosecute criminal acts and not a paraded cry for help and an act of distress,” he noted.

He lamented that suicides and attempts are on the increase in Nigeria, and could be due to several reasons, but mainly due to the harsh economic conditions of the average Nigerian.

To this end, he proposed that anyone who attempts suicide would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to compulsory psychological counseling and community service for a period of at least six months.

According to him, “Suicides and attempts are on the rise in Nigeria. This could be due to several reasons, but mainly the difficult economic conditions of the average Nigerian.

“Research has also shown a strong link between suicide and mental illnesses/disorders, however, this continues to be treated as a crime in Nigeria. This means that a person who survives a suicide attempt will be harassed, arrested and punished by the state with imprisonment.
duration of up to one year.

He argued that suicidal people need effective treatment, counseling and support, not punishment. Penalizing a suicide attempt is hardly a method of prevention, but the law should direct the competent authorities to help traumatized attempters.

Also in plenary, the House passed on second reading a bill to create a federal orphanage regulatory agency that will be responsible for coordinating and regulating all forms of children in the care of orphanages or centers, the certification of the Business Affairs Commission for proper management, in particular the monitoring and evaluation of their hygienic conditions, the total number of orphans demographically entering the centers and leaving orphans to any destination through record keeping to prevent mismanagement or corruption within orphanages in general and related matters.

In his main debate, the Hon. James Owolabi explained that the private bill will ensure the standard and needs of a child with a less burdensome procedure to adopt a child.

He said: “It will interest you to know that many orphanage operators are not legally registered to operate due to the attention given to most orphanages which are still owned by the voluntary organization which has allowed the criminals to engage in these activities to further their malicious intentions of child trafficking, baby milling and extortion of would-be child adapters.

Hon. Owolabi, who called for the House to intervene, said he was gravely concerned about media reports of discoveries, arrests and rescues by security agencies at baby factories, as well as cases of missing children in orphanages and torture.


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