THE incident of rape in Nigeria has been disturbingly on the increase over the years. Section 358 of the Criminal Code specifies punishment for perpetrators of rape, ranging from five to 21 years in jail or even life imprisonment as the case may be. Unfortunately, despite the law, the numbers of rape victims are on the increase each passing day. These days cases of rape occur in homes, schools, worship centres, among others. Some Nigerians are of the opinion that the culprits deserve life imprisonment, while others believe that a better enforcement of the existing laws would reduce incidents of rape. Below are what some Nigerians think should be done to reduce cases of rape.
Alumona Ozoemena, Politician: The issue of rape is not about the punishment; rather rape cases rarely get reported. The perpetrators go away without any judgement because most of the victims prefer to lie low to avoid the stigmatisation that accompanies the trauma. The point is how to encourage the victims to speak up so that the perpetrators can be effectively punished. So, I believe life imprisonment would help in reducing the incident.
Simon Okechukwu, Social commentator: The existing laws to me are flexible and most of the time, the victims are often probed to the extent that they can’t adequately answer the questions which unfortunately led to the incident. Government should, as a matter of urgency, review the existing laws in order to save our future generations.
George Okeke, Engineer: I believe no matter how stringent the punishment given to those culprits, it won’t serve as a deterrent to others if we don’t really look at the causes of the problem. I totally condemn rape and anyone found guilty should be subjected to the toughest form of punishment. I think life imprisonment should be appropriate.
Austine Okechukwu, Pastor: I think the perpetrators should be given life imprisonment with hard labour. There should be no preferential treatment and justice should always be allowed to take its full course. Also appropriate parental care especially for the underaged females should be enforced.
Stanley Nwalia, Teacher: The only way to stop rape in Nigeria is through enforcement of the existing laws. Rape is a criminal offence and whosoever is involved should be made to face the consequences.
Kingsley Chukwuma, Businessman: Over the years, those who rape get away with the offence and the ones caught are usually not properly dealt with to serve as lessons for others. The worst that the perpetrators get is a minor jail term, while the victims are left to suffer the stigmatisation from those around them. What needs to be done is proper legislation and enforcement that would prevent rape cases.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Apr. 29, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT