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Stemming Incessant Rape

Stemming Incessant Rape-

THE International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ondo State chapter recently staged a peaceful protest to the State Governor’s office demanding for the enactment of sexual offences law to ensure that sex offenders are promptly prosecuted in law courts and adequately punished.

ACCORDING to the FIDA chairperson,  Bola -Joel Ogundadegbe, the protest was to show the group’s displeasure at the recurring cases of rape in the State. She stated that there was a recent case of a lady who was stabbed, brutalized and mutilated for refusing a man to have canal knowledge of her.

Contextually, rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse. It is initiated by one or more persons against another without the person’s consent.  The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated or below the legal age of consent.

RAPE cases have been on a steady increase in contemporary Nigeria and the rising incidents of rape have lately become very alarming and disturbing. The prevalent upsurge of rape and sexual abuse across the country is unfathomable, especially now that children are not exempted.

LATE last year, a 26-year-old prophetess son, Friday Akinlaja was arrested in Oda for forcefully having canal knowledge of a nine-year-old girl when the victim’s mother was away after which the suspect gave the little girl a paultry sum of N110 to buy food.  Likewise, was another reported case of a 20-year-old model, a graduate of Adeyemi College of Education Ondo, Seun Fionna  Ajila,  who was raped and stabbed on the neck by his assailants at her mother’s home in Ijoka area of Akure. The victim’s boy friend, Ebenezer Adedamola has since been apprehended by the police as a principal suspect. Also, a 45-year-old Adebisi Akinola was arrested by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) in Ondo State for allegedly raping his daughter for about three years.

RAPE cases cut across different states in Nigeria. There was a reported case of a motorcycle rider, Ubong Ime who was arrested by the Lagos State police force in September last year for raping and impregnating his 15-year-old daughter at Iju area of Lagos. A middle age man, Friday Moses was equally arrested by Edo State police for raping and impregnating his 13-year- old primary six daughter. He was alleged to have been defilling her at age seven.

THE tragic end of a 13-year-old Elizabeth Ochanya, a victim of serial rape who later died from Vesico -Vaginal Fistula she suffered from sexual assaults from father and son (Andrew and Victor Ogbuja) in Markurdi, Benue-State last year still remain fresh in our memory. The dastardly act attracted wide criticism and condemnation from different angles calling for immediate prosecution of such an inhuman, callous and degrading act. The list is sadly endless as rape cases are daily reported in local and national newspapers.

RAPE is one of the most awful and brutal gender-based form of violence predominantly carried out against women and the girl -child. Most rape cases are not reported in Nigeria and the few reported are mostly talked about with shock, scorn and disgust as most of the victims hardly get justice. The evil phenomenon was so disturbing that Nigerian Senate passed a law in 2015, which made the offence punishable with a life jail sentence.

PEOPLE who have been raped can be severely traumatized and may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to psychological harm resulting from the act, rape may cause physical injury or have additional effects on the victim, such as acquiring of a Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).

WHILE we commend the efforts of FIDA at addressing rape cases in the country through peaceful protest to put government on its toes,  The Hope urges the three tiers of government to sensitize the public on the debilitating effect of rape and sexual harassment of females and the need to report perpetrators of such inhuman act to the appropriate authority.

FINDINGS show that rape cases are hardly reported in Nigeria because the victims fear being ostracized and most victims of rape have lost faith in securing justice for them as rapist walk the streets free while their victims remain in silence suffering emotional pain and depression. The Hope calls on the law enforcement agencies and judiciary to be alive to their responsibility and stop handling rape cases with kids glove to justify the confidence reposed in them as the voice for the voiceless. While appealing to the public to report any case of sexual offences or rape to the appropriate authority, we also call for the immediate enactment of the sexual offences Law and  prosecute anyone found guilty of this dastardly act no matter how highly placed or influential to deter likely offenders.

SINCE rape inflicts permanent disability and trauma on the victims and have led to the untimely death of innocent citizens across the country, we urges government at all levels to come up with enforceable laws to protect vulnerable individuals against rapists.

WHILE commiserating with the family of those who have lost their loved ones to rape.  We appeal to the Federal Government to put in place a victim’s response mechanism for reporting, investigating and prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence and rape against females. The reality is that the crime of rape in Nigeria, especially of minors is on the increase, at an alarming rate calling for expedite action by the authorities concern to stem the ugly trend urgently  in order to achieve a rape free and peaceful nation.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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