Senate passes corporate manslaughter law

Senate passes corporate manslaughter law

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 6:23 am

The Nigerian Senate has honoured a dead colleague, Sen. Pius Ewherido by passing the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2014 into law after a clause-to-clause consideration.

The bill, tagged “Bill for an Act to Make Provisions Creating the Offence of Corporate Manslaughter and for Matters Incidental Thereto 2013“, was sponsored by the late senator.

It seeks to punish corporate negligence and dereliction of duty, leading to death of victim and scaled second reading on Feb. 7, 2013.

The Deputy Senate President, while presiding over the passage of the bill in Abuja, said the passage was in honour of the late senator.

“The passage of this bill into law is a befitting tribute to our late friend and colleague, Sen. Pius Ewherido.

“I am sure that wherever he is, he will be happy today that this bill has been eventually passed.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill was fashioned after the British Corporate Manslaughter Bill and similar experience in Hong Kong.

Late Sen. Ewherido (PDP-Delta) who died on June 30, 2013, had said the bill was to protect citizens against occurrences like the DANA air crash.

He also said the bill, if passed into law, would equally punish any employee who served as an “accessory for manslaughter” by negligently performing or sabotaging their employers in any event which resulted in death.

In his lead debate, Ewherido had said provisions of the bill fell within the definition of killing in Section 308 of the Criminal Code.

Section 308 of the code states that “except as hereinafter set forth, any person who causes the death of another directly or indirectly by any means whatever is deemed to have killed another person”.

The Senate also passed the Nigeria Public Health (Quarantine, Isolation, and Emergency Health Matters Procedure) bill 2014 into law.

The law, which seeks to develop a comprehensive plan to provide for a coordinated and appropriate response in the event of a public health emergency, was passed into law after a clause-by-clause consideration.

It ensures that the needs of infected or exposed persons are properly addressed.

The law further grants state and local government officials, authority to use and appropriate property necessary for care, treatment, vaccination and housing of patients as well as destroy contaminated materials.

Also, the law grants federal and local officials the ability to prevent, detect, manage and contain emergency health threats without unduly interfering with civil rights and liberties.

The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, said the passage of the law was timely considering recent health emergencies like the Ebola Virus Disease(EVD).

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