The bill for a law to provide for the rights and entitlements of victims and protection of witnesses has scaled second reading at the Lagos State House of Assembly, as members debated the pros and cons of the bill during plenary on Monday.
Kick-starting the debate, the Chairman, House Committee On Judiciary, Petition, Human Rights and LASIEC, Hon. Victor Akande, said that the bill would help to protect victims and as well provide assistance to them in the face of disaster.
Akande added the bill would provide for the entitlement of victims, adding that there is need to come to the aid of victims as at when due.
While contributing, Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) said that there are a lot of people who suffer from different victimisation in the state, adding that nobody has compensated victims and so there is need to protect them.
Olowo stated that the bill would provide for the establishment of an agency that would address the rights and protects victims and witnesses.
He said the bill is for the poor that are seeking justice, adding that those whose properties had been seized would get justice through the bill.
” If we look at what is happening in Nigeria and Lagos in particular, it shows that there is need to protect victims of disaster. The bill is to protect the rights of those that suffers injustice. The bill is for every strata of the society.
“A lot of people have suffered from different victimations ,some people’s properties are taken over unjustly and so it is certain this bill will address all those issues. I will urge my colleagues to support it,” said Olowo.
Also, Hon. Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1), said the bill takes care of protection of witnesses that would testify in the court of law, adding that most often witnesses always scare of testifying because of not being victimised.
Tobun called the attention of the House to the Board appointment clause in the bill, suggesting that appointment into the Board should be subjected to the ratification of the House.
The Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, said the bill is responsive and that overtime there had been clamour by lawyers that justices should not be for society alone but also for victims.
Other lawmakers who contributed spoke in support of the bill and thereafter, the Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, said the bill will strengthen the administration of criminal justice, adding that it would build confidence in witnesses that would want to testify before the court.
Obasa added: “This bill is for the society. It will give assurance to witness that they are protected while testifying before the court. The bill will also protect traffic victims.”
The Speaker, however, committed the bill to the House Committee On Judiciary to report back in 2weeks.
In a related development, the Lagos state Pension Reform (Amendment) Law 2021 also scaled second reading and was committed to the House Committee On Training and Establishment after extensive debate by the lawmakers