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Is Lagos right to criminalise deserting fathers?

Africa HYS team | 11:35 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2011

Is Nigeria's Lagos state right to criminalise deserting fathers? 

mother and child (AP)

Earlier this week the Babatunde Fashola, the Lagos State governor, signed into law that forces men to support their children. Men who impregnate and abandon women could now face prosecution.

The rights of children born outside marriage are already protected by Kenya's constitution. But how enforceable is such a law? And how much of a difference does it make?   

Is this going too far or would you like to see the same law in your country?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 11 August at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    Well as for me, this is more or less a welcome development, it teaches us to be responsible and dat all man should be set to take responsibility for hir or her actions and inactions.
    These Abandon children constitute the bulk of the miscreants and a major factor that played is the absence of partenal care

  • Comment number 2.

    I believe it is the right step in the right direction, however how they hope to enforce it is another question having due regard to the cultural isues which put a man/male sex as almost untouchable and even protects/isolates him from unnecesary presure.The country also the customary laws which may also be at variance with common law.[Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 3.

    Great idea! Although, I believe that a vast majority of Nigerian or African men take great pride in providing for their children/immediate and even extended families. Therefore, men abandoning their children is quite uncommon. Maybe Governor Fashola is being proactive before it becomes a problem in his state.

  • Comment number 4.

    I fully support this move, it is sad that society had to use legal means to legistate on conscience but in the end this grave injustice against women and children has to come to an end, if it means through the hammer so be it. I am tired hearing selfish excuses after another and sincerely hope other nations in Africa follow suit. Surely, surely our sisters deserve better.

  • Comment number 5.

    it is wonderfully right to have such law imposed on our unconscious youths. secondly, same law shuld serve as deterant to the girls coz good number of dem are wanting the baby for one irrational reason or d other

  • Comment number 6.

    It is a difficult law to enforce, but it is a problem too serious to ignore. Both male and female parents should be forced to take responsibility for their children, otherwise we shall see a slow death of our societies. if we get a few succesful prosecutions, then the message will get through.

  • Comment number 7.

    Those men harassing the female as well as their children are common in all countries in africa. anyway the low must enforce those men to punish and support their infants.l agree the government to do so.

  • Comment number 8.


  • Comment number 9.

    Though lack of jobs is keeping many African men from considering marriage, still anything that will promote marriage and discourage too many children being born outside out of wedlock is good for Nigeria and any country. For the governor, this is good thinking as long as it does not lead to women thinking they can make more money by having more babies. This is serious problem in some countries.

  • Comment number 10.

    Women are the mothers of the world, while fathers are the protectors of the world. Any home with no protector would end up being attacked by external forces, including indiscipline and lack of barriers. Having sex with no condoms should be an invitation to take responsibility for the consequence, but women should not take the law as a licence for single parenthood.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    I would like to see this law in my country, Zambia. Women don't have a choice when it comes to caring for the kids they have given birth to, I don't see why men should either.
    Also Its time to restore the position of men as leaders and providers in our society and it starts in the home. Society is damaged when men disengage, see the London riots, mostly fatherless children gone wild.

  • Comment number 13.

    Nigeria like the US and unlike Kenya, operates a federal system. Protection of child's right, women right, rights of the disable and gender equality are already contained in the Nigerian constitution. Lagos, being one out 36 states that made up Nigeria, emphasises and criminalise any violation of child's right as contained in the constitution.

  • Comment number 14.

    It is a shame that some men have to be dragged to court to do their duties. This legislation is long overdue. It will make people take responsibility for their actions or think deeply before engaging in sex. One hopes that it will be a comprehensive approach that will allow garnishment of their wages if necessary.

  • Comment number 15.

    Such law is more than welcome.
    It is about time men should start to learn to assume their part of responsibility wen it comes to a new born.
    Of course women must also be sure of their babies father.

  • Comment number 16.

    If a large state like Lagos can enforce this law it will make a big difference for Women and children, this law is implemented in lots of European countries. England has a lot of ongoing problems enforcing this law. Scandinavia is a professional in this area; this is a moral law, well done Lagos!

  • Comment number 17.

    all men should be held accountable for any children that they father. Of course it is virtually impossible in Africa to enforce such a law but I hope that at least the authorities have a go.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is very important topic, yes I strongly support the criminalisation of runaway fathers, fathers should be forced to take the responsibility of their children. also governments around Africa should educate men and women to have preventive sex when both are not ready to take care of a child, free sex is fun game but when the father of a child deserted, the child becomes the victim

  • Comment number 19.

    Africa has its traditions but men can’t choose to live in a modern westernized world when convenient and in a traditional world otherwise. The onus put on some women is unbelievable horrendous.

  • Comment number 20.

    The city has developed benevolent laws that shall enforce the already God given responsibility for men to care. It is prudent that one enjoys the results of adult activity just as he enjoys the activity itself. May other cities emulate this one to reduce street and hurt children in Africa. John Abaho in Isingiro Uganda

  • Comment number 21.

    what of some girl because of money den begin sell diar body 2 deffrent man if dat kind of girl come pregnant . How many man going 2 jail? Because dis d pornishement sorpose 2 b girl and man

  • Comment number 22.

    Absolutely a good idea! If a woman gets pregnant outside of marriage there are biological and social implications. Rather than taking the western feminist rout and trying to remove such consequences, we should make them equally felt by men through the law.

  • Comment number 23.

    Men have the will to get their girlfriend, wife/wives pregnant but dont have the will to be responsible parents. I thinks this is a positive step forward that will give women and children the power and right to prosecute 'father' who are not responsible or responsible enough. Kudos to Babasola for a job welldone!

  • Comment number 24.

    Oh how I wish this could be introduced in Liberia as amendment to our constitution instead of the uneccessary upcoming referendum which Liberians don't know what to vote for. Our MPs are the perpertriators of such and so they should have been thinking of such as the lagos state has done.


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