The Lagos State House of Assembly led by Speaker Mudashiru Obasa recently passed a bill to protect and assist victims of crimes and accidents.
The legislation also covers witnesses who have genuine information which could help the effective prosecution of cases.
The Assembly explained that the bill seeks to ensure a peaceful Lagos society in line with the state’s advancement.
The bill, which has 71 sections, is the first to be passed by a State House of Assembly in Nigeria.
The legislation made provision for the establishment of an agency that would assist in meeting its stipulations and goals.
The bill which awaits the assent of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has the following provisions;
-Provides assistance to victims and witnesses including measures for treatment, reparation, restitution and rehabilitation.
-Approves research into ways victims and witnesses can be effectively treated, rehabilitated, assisted, compensated and protected.
– Creates a conducive environment for witnesses to make statements before law enforcement agencies without fear of any repercussions;
– Provides compensation to victims or witnesses for any physical or mental harm, loss or damages to property;
– A victim or witness can be provided with security, temporary accommodation, permanent relocation, temporary or permanent employment or change of identity;
– A victim or witness shall be protected from unnecessary contact with the alleged offender and defence witnesses during trial and proceedings;
– A victim or witness who suspects that harm may be inflicted on him due to his participation in any investigation can seek protection;
– Victims of accidents or crimes must be assisted by the public or security agents and taken to the nearest hospital for treatment;
– A hospital or facility that fails to treat a victim can face a N1m fine. If the victim dies, the hospital or doctor faces prosecution;
– A private hospital that receives an accident victim must inform the agency within 48 hours for reimbursement of expenses where family members are unknown or the victim is indigent.