Nigerian Lawmakers Propose Stiffer Penalty For Perpetrators Of Child Sexual Abuse | See Details

Shocking cases of sexual abuse especially on women and innocent children across the country have been widely reported in recent times. Just recently, there was a sad story of 4-year-old Khloe who was allegedly raped by a full grown man, Idris Ebiloma, in Abuja.

In June alone, an Islamic cleric who raped a 16-year-old girl claimed that he got married to her a day before the first rape incident.

There was also another case of a pastor who was jailed for raping a 14-year-old. The most controversial case came two weeks ago when Busola Dakolo, mom-of-three and wife of singer, Timi Dakolo, accused Biodun Fatoyinbo, the senior pastor at COZA of raping her when she was a minor, in her parents’ home. Fatoyinbo denied the charge, but stepped down as pastor.

Amidst concerns over these rising cases of sexual abuse, Nigerian lawmakers are pushing for capital punishment for offenders. The lawmakers made the statement while contributing to a motion on “Sexual abuse in Nigeria: a growing scourge”, sponsored by Rose Oko and 10 other senators.

Senator Oko had raised a point of order to present the motion on the increasing rate of reported rape cases and sexual assault especially on children across the country.

Moving the motion on Order 42 and 52 of Senate rules, Senator Rose Oko representing Cross River North Senatorial district explained that victims of child rape have been on the increase, a situation she said was worrisome, urging the upper chamber to intervene.

She 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.

READ ALSO: Mum, Foluke Daramola-Salako Recounts How Being Raped As A Child Helped Her Become A Better Parent

Using the rape cases of a six-month-old baby in Kano and Ochanya Ogbaje in Benue State, senator Oko said there are more reports of children being raped by school teachers, relatives among others. She also faulted the nonchalant  attitude of relevant authorities towards rape when it’s reported. She said:

“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise on order 42 and 52 of Senate rules to explain a very disturbing issue of child rape. Mr. President, I want to say that this matter is alarming and we need to deal with it.”

Reacting, Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial district, Oluremi Tinubu said those indulging in child abuse deserve death penalty.

Mrs Tinubu wondered what perpetrators stand to benefit from such heinous acts, adding that, raping a child is synonymous to killing that child. She added:

“Imagine a child who doesn’t know anything and was raped. If you ask the child victim to stand in law Court, what would she tell the judge? ”

Corroborating, Senator Sabi Abdulahi representing Niger North argued that the Senate must intervene by putting stiffer penalties for perpetrators.

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege stated that there were enough rape laws, stating that the challenges were those of enforcement and implementation.

READ ALSO: 8 Nigerian Women Sexually Abused As Children Recount Their Heartbreaking Stories

According to him, Court judges perhaps have too much discretion, saying that Senate should review these laws is geared towards tying their hands in a manner that they would be forced to pass judgement without deciding otherwise.

“Judges have too much discretion. Even governors too have prerogative of mercy where they visit prison yards and set inmates free.”

George Sekibo of Rivers State, said during plenary on Tuesday:

“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.”

In his contribution, Senator Chukwuka Utazi representing Enugu North Senatorial district called for psychiatric test on perpetrators of child abuse. The lawmaker added that the school curriculum should also capture sex education from elementary level to higher institutions.

Adopting the motion, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan upheld the prayers and also upholding the review of all relevant laws that would ensure capital punishment for offenders of child abuse.

Part of the payers sustained too was the training of the police and other security agents handling rape cases, while they also urged the public to serve as watchdogs against rape.

 

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