Published On: Wed, Sep 24th, 2014

Senate Passes Late Ewherido’s Bill On Corporate Manslaughter

Late Senator Pius Ewherido

LAGOS SEPTEMBER 24TH (URHOBOTODAY)– The Senate on Tuesday posthumously honoured its fallen colleague, Senator Pius Ewherido, when it passed a bill on corporate manslaughter, which was sponsored by the late senator before his death last year.
Offenders under the proposed law will face punishment ranging from seven years imprisonment to a fine of N1million.
The passage was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the bill, which is for an Act to create the Offence for Corporate Manslaughter and for Matters Incidental thereto, 2013.

The bill seeks to create offence for corporate manslaughter and make corporate bodies and agencies liable for their acts of negligence, dereliction of duty or gross incompetence that causes death of a person and punish acts of sabotage against employers/employees.
Late Senator Pius Ewherido (DPP, Delta Central) sponsored the bill. He died in June 2013.
The Senate had on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013, deliberated on the general principles of the bill wherein senators made far-reaching contributions for and against the justification for the proposed legislation.
After extensive deliberations, it was read for the second time and referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, for further legislative action with a mandate to report back its recommendations. The bill is designed to serve public interest by ensuring that organisation exercise reasonable care in the way they manage their activities in order to prevent loss of lives that may arise.
The bill if signed into law by the President, provides that any organisation that is guilty of corporate manslaughter would be liable on conviction to a fine not less than N1 million just as a person guilty of the offence of accessory to corporate manslaughter would be liable on conviction to a term of not less than three years imprisonment with an option of not less than N500, 000.
The bill prescribes that, “Notwithstanding the culpability of an organisation, corporation or agency, any person or group of persons who either jointly or severally in the course of carrying out a legitimate duty, performs same negligently or defaults to perform same, thereby causing the death of a person or directly leading to the occurrence of an event causing the death of a person, shall be guilty of the offence of accessory to corporate manslaughter.”
It also provides that all related offences under the Act may be prosecuted at the instance of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Police Force and any private legal practitioner; with the court of jurisdiction being State High Court or Federal High Court of Justice.
According to findings contained in the report of the Senator Umaru Dahiru led Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, the corporate manslaughter bill contemplates killing as an action committed, directly or indirectly by a corporation, which sections 308 and 317 did not cover.
It noted that the provision of a new section to provide for compensation to the deceased victims’ family, will amount to duplication, as such has been taken care of in other laws such as the Employees Compensation Act, Labour Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act etc.
The committee further noted that with the passage of the bill into law, same will not preclude any person or group of
persons from instituting civil cases against any corporation as regards compensation.
The Senate also Tuesday passed the Animal Health and Husbandry Technologists Bill 2013.
The bill was passed following consideration of the report of the committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.
The bill provides for the establishment of the Animal Health Technologists Registration Board of Nigeria, a body which shall be responsible for determining what standards of knowledge and skill are to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the profession and to improve those standards from time to time as circumstances permit.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, in its report, noted that the passage of the bill will enhance the activities of the Animal Health Technologists, adhere to international best practices, and ensure their accreditation with the World Organisation for Animal Health, OIE , of which Nigeria is a signatory.

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