Rapist should be castrated
Mr Adekola Olawoye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, is Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice. In this interview with Bisi Olominu, he speaks on increasing rape cases in Nigeria, negligence of IPO in investigating them and other sundry issues.
Can we meet you Sir?
What is the state government doing to address increasing rape cases in the state?
The problem we are having presently is upsurge in rape cases and the government is trying everything possible to curtail or stem the tide of this heinous crime because rape by the definition of the criminal code is having canal knowledge or in ordinary parlance, having sexual intercourse with a woman or a girl without her consent or if the consent is procured by duress, force, threat or intimidation of any kind or by fear of harms or by means of fraud or fraudulent restitution as the case may be is called rape and the punishment for it, if the person is liable upon conviction is imprisonment for life with or without a fine and we have a similar offence to rape called defilement defilement relates basically to minor, people below age 13 or age 14 or under 17 years old but the most serious part of it is the idea of anybody having canal knowledge of a minor who is under 13 years old and it is a serious crime too, it carries life imprisonment but if you make an attempt and you did not succeed, it carries 14 years without option of fine, it did not have an option if the person attempt it on a minor or grown up person, the law says a person is matured, responsible when he or she is 18 years old. By law you are responsible for your action. In Ondo State, the government is trying to apply the law to the later, we are in the Ministry of Justice, the upsurge in rape cases here is overwhelming because I have not seen this kind of speed at which people are raping or having canal knowledge of people at least averagely, per week in this ministry, we record at least a minimum of three to four cases, you can imagine what it will be in a month and in a year.
There is a specific age bracket in which this kind of barbaric act is being carried out, it is now relatively between the age of 3 and 11. Women are being raped recklessly, callously and the latest in this ministry, is one that has gone viral in the social media, whereby at Irele a little child of between 6 and 7 years was raped, defiled and the rapist is at large. The private part of the small girl was seriously damaged. According to medical report, she was reffered to Okitipupa General Hospital because Irele General Hospital as I was informed has no anaesthesia and some other medical equipment. What the girl needed was succour at that crucial time, her private part ruptured , because blood was oozing out at an alarming rate and if you see the gory picture that was posted to one platform Women 4 Women, that was when I took the matter up personally. By midnight I was still on it, telling the police that they must take proper action and not allow the rapist to abscond but he is still at large , but I believe that the long arm of the law will catch up with him and he will be brought to book. Thank God the little girl was rehabilitated at General Hospital Okitipupa and she is still under intensive medical care as I am talking with you now but those people who have been arrested in connection with this crime had been brought down to State CID in Akure for further investigation and I learnt from the IPO that a medical report of the treatment and dressing given to that girl has been sent to State CID for further investigation.
Why do you think rape cases are on the increase?
What is hidden from man is known to God, but as a human being, I am beginning to think that this crime now on the increase in Ondo State, probably is being committed for ritual and money making purposes. How do I mean? Whenever an incident occur, we learnt that rapist use to collect discharge from the private part of the victim. I don’t know what for, and my suspicion is that a minor, a girl of 3 years old has nothing to attract a man, she has no breast, she has no buttock, what attract a man to a lady are these features but a girl of 3 years has nothing. The breast has not formed, even the private part and for you to condescend and disflower her or defile her, I don’t think. Any man can derive any pleasure having a rat under him, that is why I am thinking may be it is for ritual purposes because the generation of today have gone beserk, we are in a mad race to get rich quickly. You will see a 19-years-old boy riding state of art car, where did they get the money? An undergraduate from a tertiary institution living a life of affluence, they called themselves yahoo boys or yahoo plus, I don’t know what it means, but from the little we have seen here, yahoo is another studio name for get-money-quick and they have now graduated to yahoo plus, may be this is the sign of end time. I never heard this when we were young it was hardly known or heard of in the society but today it is the order of the day particularly among young boys and to make matter worse you will see them either they belong to one cult or the other, this is where they graduated after initiation to become another thing in the society. So, this is where we are.
Why are victims not coming out publicly on the issue?
The stigma, the shame associated with rape, and the psychological problem, the trauma, pain are enough for young girls or ladies to keep quiet because the society believed it is a sacrilegious offence for you to be raped or disflowered at a young age, it is culturally believe that virginity is a thing of pride, once you are married and you are a virgin, it is a thing of pride and virtue to the family of the wife and to the family of the husband. They will respect such a girl and her parents. In christiandom, it is a thing of pride, for a girl to lose her virtue to a rapist. Then how do you come out to tell people that you have been raped. It is the public awareness the press is creating now that is helping victims to come out. Look at the issue of a prominent pastor of a popular church who was alleged to have raped the wife of a popular artist about 20 years ago, she now came out at age 34 to say this was what I passed through at age 17 when I was attending this church. It is the awareness that brought the boldness and the courage, hitherto in our cultural setting a lady will not come out because of what she will lose, her dignity, she may be ostracized, they may say she is wayward or due to promiscuity and the stigma is just like AIDS.
Why are rape cases difficult to prove in the court?
It is not difficult I must confess, rape cases will be investigated by the police, after investigation, they will take the defendants to any magistrate court, he will be charged there, because the magistrate court has no jurisdiction, they will order that the person be remanded in prison, then they will send the case file to us here for legal advice, what they have investigated; the statement, extra judicial statement they have obtained from the defendants, we will look at them and dissect them properly and we will see if there is a prima facie case established against the defendants, we will issue our legal advice and file information in High Court because only the High Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate over rape cases or defilement, the magistrate court had no jurisdiction.
So it depend on investigation, if rape cases are well investigated by the police, and most time you either prove this crime by either confessional statement or by eye witness or by circumstantial evidence, like if a rape happens now and the defendant ran away and he was apprehended later, we will need to write statement to the police if he confesses, confessional statement that is cogent and positive, obtained in compliance with the provision of administration of criminal justice law 2015, law of Ondo State such, a person will be in for it during investigation, there are two provisions of the law that police must comply with under the criminal justice Law of Ondo State section 10 (1) and section 12 (2) provides that in obtaining the statement, of the defendants, it must be recorded, there must be video recording, then after the confessional statement, a lawyer must be present to counter sign the statement. Once this is not done, that statement will not be admissable and once that statement is blocked or shut out, hardly can you get a conviction. That is the problem we have in the Ministry of Justice and we are advocating and preaching to the investigation authority to please comply with this section of the law, administration criminal justice law 2015, we are about now amending the law, especially that section of the law that is giving us headache because the police use to tell us that they don’t have this material to record, to video a defendants make his statement and sometime getting a lawyer to counter sign is difficult, but now we have educated them, and told them we have many legal aids, there are many lawyers working with the government, immediately you have such a thing, call any of the lawyers of your choice to counter sign the statement. When this is done the criminal is in for it, he cannot escape, where he denies his statement, we will have trial within trial, once the presiding judge is convinced that you make the statement, regardless of the fact that you retracted it, it is immaterial, the court will admit it and once he confess his crime what else?
Once he admitted to the crime, the next thing is judgement, that is where we have problem. Investigation Police Officers not complying with that section of the law strictly. It is a strict liability, once, many courts have pronounced on it. The appellant court, once such a statement does not comply strictly with the requirements of provision of the law, such an offender will go, they will discharge and acquit him, another thing is that why the need for video recording? Is a monumental improvement in our criminal code act, hitherto many of this police officers use to flog, beat hell out of the defendants, and coax them to confess, all manner of things are used to obtain confessional statement, so, if you put it on video at least the whole world will know, we introduced the video to discourage police officers from beating people, forcing them to make statement under duress, that is why we say if you want to record it, video it, you know picture don’t tell lies.
Is our law or punishment on rape justifiable?
I will bring you a situation, as a man you have a daughter, may be it takes time before God answer your prayer after marriage, may be ten, twenty years and the product is a girl, you spend your life saving to give her a good upbringing suddenly, somebody rapes her, as a father you will feel bad, if that is the result. I don’t think the law is harsh, in fact if I were not the Attorney General of Ondo State, if I am not a lawyer I would have supported any move to carstrate such defendants if he is found liable on conviction but you know, the press, amnesty will come from Geneva, human right before you know, they will turn it to blackmail, where as in some other clans they do thing like that. Take for example, in some other countries they still use capital punishment, so I will say if the law is not like that how are we going to discourage such thing, it is a permanent danger, permanent trauma for life, I heard it through a friend that a lady was raped when she was 8 and she has promised to revenge, on the night of her honey moon she went to the kitchen, pick a knife and stab her husband to death before help could come the husband died, when eventually the police come she said look, don’t worry yourself I killed him because I have pledged in my mind to killed any man that have sexual intercourse with me.
Why do you think old men now rape little girls?
Like I have said earlier, that I presumed it is not for pleasure, sleeping with a grown up woman is for pleasure, by biblical injunction you are to be fruitful, merry, enjoy and multiply, that is what the bible say, that if you cannot restrain yourself from fornication get married, procreate and enjoy yourself. There is enjoyment in sexual intercourse, both parties fill fulfilled, the lady got all the features the man want, the breast, buttock but does a 3 years old girl have this features? Nothing has come out of her, that is why I said strongly, I may be wrong but I believe it is for ritual purposes, it is for you and I to pray to God, so that, we can break and burst this cells of crime and criminality, I don’t know what they are doing it for, but certainly not for enjoyment, but craziness for money and wealth and I learnt either true or not that the blood from the little girl is an antidote for getting wealthy quickly.
Sir, do you support any stiffer punishment for rapist?
Like I have told you, if not for the fact that I took up the toga of being the Attorney General of Ondo State, if I am ordinary person on the street, I will support castration if they proposed it. Just cut off the penis of the offenders.
Is our law on rape as presently constituted, able to tackle the issue of rape or should it be reviewed?
Yes, we need a revision, the law need a revision, like the people are clamouring for, if we did not put something stiffer and amend the law. The rate we are going, most of our future mothers life are being ruin gradually. These young girls are our future mothers when their life is being destroy at a tender age what is left ? The prayer of every woman is to grow up, acquire good education and get married, when their life is being destroy at age 3, what will be their pride. When that appature is destroyed at a tender age what then happen? So, we need a stiffer punishment, if they say death, let’s capitalized it instead of imprisonment for life, let us upgrade it to death penalty, I support it, but death penalty may not deter some people, but castration will deter any sane human being, once I know if am caught my male organ will be removed I will think twice. Nobody want to die.
What is your advice to our women?
Our mothers have relegated themselves to money making machine, they have abandon their fundamental roles as mother, they hardly take care of their children, they hardly know their whereabout either in school or after school, a mother that lives home as early as 7am to go to the market or travel and comes back by midnight or early hour of the day, the children have either gone to school or have slept, she doesn’t know what happen within those periods she was away, what did you think we become of such children? So our mother should wake up to their duties and take care of their children especially the girl child. They should monitor their activities, in fact, girl child needs extra care and surveillance, if we don’t want them to fall victim of rape. The motherly role is very important, when duty is abandon for money woe betide such child. Parents should do more in looking after the children and nurture them well.
Has the government been rapid in response to rape cases?
Very, very, there is no time it happen that we don’t respond quickly, the primary role of every government is to protect the life and property of the citizen, that is the cardinal principles of this government, so we always respond speedily to every rape cases. No rape cases here that we don’t take immediate action. This government cherishes the security of life and property, we are on top of it and we cherished the life of our children, we don’t want them to be defiled at the tender age, because they are our tomorrow. We don’t joke with it because we don’t know whose turn it will be next, it is a serious issue, so, we don’t take it with levity hand.
How many rape conviction have you recorded in the state?
In Ondo State to the best of my knowledge since I have been appointed as Attorney General of Ondo State. I have it on good authority that we secured almost about 22 conviction from the Ministry Justice apart from murder and theft, but rape, we have convicted 22. I personally use to go to the court, I don’t actually live such a case to junior lawyer, though they are capable but I prefer to do it myself because I know the importance of it to the society. We have the statistics and data.