The Nigerian senate is pushing for the death penalty for rapists, weeks after allegations of sexual assault against senior religious clerics sparked n
The Nigerian senate is pushing for the death penalty for rapists, weeks after allegations of sexual assault against senior religious clerics sparked nationwide uproar, amidst concerns over rising cases of sexual abuse.
“We should review our laws and make it a death penalty and by the time we kill one or two persons, those who are raping will control that thing that is making them to rape,” said George Sekibo of Rivers State, during plenary on Tuesday.
The lawmaker made the statement while contributing to a motion on “Sexual abuse in Nigeria: a growing scourge”, sponsored by Rose Oko and 10 other senators. Ms Oko had raised a point of order to present a motion on the increasing rate of reported rape cases and sexual assault especially on children across the country.
Rose Oko, who represents Cross River, described rape as a “dastardly act” and said it is perpetrated on children as young as six months. She referred to a UNICEF report of 2015 which states that six of ten children under the age of 18 experience emotional and sexual violence. Using the rape cases of a six-month-old baby in Kano and Ochanya Ogbaje in Benue State, Mrs Oko said there are more reports of children being raped by school teachers, relatives among others.
She also faulted the unserious attitude of relevant agencies towards rape crimes and that failure of states to implement laws protecting children against such violence. She also said state and non-state institutions have failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation and commended recent reactions by the public especially Interest Groups and NGOs against perpetrators of all forms of rape and violence.
In his contribution, Mr Sekibo blamed the government for failing to implement penalties for rape crimes. He called for death sentences for perpetrators of the act.
“If a man commits sexual abuse on a six-month old baby, it is criminal. That person ought to be killed not to be sentenced. It has been happening in this country and perpetrators are not punished. Are there no laws? don’t we have departments of governments that are handling these laws?
“No religions accepts that. We should either review our laws and make it a death penalty and by the time we kill one or two persons, those who are raping will control that thing that is making them to rape. The problem is, when issues are reported, people take it for granted. Parents may be poor people who may not be able to push the matter to a higher level and then the matters will die there.
The Senate thereafter directed its Committees on Judiciary, Police Affairs, Women and Social Development (when constituted) to seek ways of improving implementation of all legislation and policies aimed at protecting minors from rapists and other forms of violence. It also directed the committees to review the relevant legislations to provide stiffer penalties against sexual abuse of infants and minors especially.
The Senate called on the Police and other law enforcement agencies to conduct mandatory training for officer in dealing with cases and young victims of abuse.
Other resolutions include, “urge the judiciary to establish a National Sentencing Framework for child sexual abuse cases and judicial officers to impose the heaviest penalties committed by law on perpetrators of all forms of abuses against minors to serve as deterrent;
“Urge federal government to domesticate and robustly implement the child rights act and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015 in order to curb sexual abuse against minors and Urge the general public to continue to act as watchdog and voice of voiceless as a way to curb sexual abuse and all forms of violence.”