The recent incidences of rape in the country have sparked off national and even international outrage. On daily basis innocent girls, women, boys and men are falling victims of rapists. Mostly affected are girls and women who are randomly subjected to the most humiliating and agonizing experience. In some cases the victims don’t even live to tell their stories. Regrettably, the intensity of rape cases appear to be on the increase in the recent times.
We painfully recall the death of two promising young girls in the most recent incidents of rape that happened in Benin, the Edo State capital and Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. In Benin, according to the report, Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa a student of Microbiology, University of Benin sought the quiet of her Church to study but was attacked, raped and killed by a band of mindless individuals. Similarly, an 18-year old female student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Moore Plantation, Apata, Ibadan, Barakat Bello was assaulted in her house, in Akinyele Local Government Area.
She was reportedly attacked on Monday, June 1, 2020 by her assailant-rapist. Her body was later discovered near her home. And in Jigawa State comes the case of an 11-year-old girl said to have been defiled by some men. The surly stories go on! These are just few of the several reported cases of rape in the country in recent times. During this period of nationwide lockdown, domestic violence against women and the girl-child have also been on the increase. Of great concern too, were the reports of fathers raping daughters, uncles raping nieces and even adult males or females sexually assaulting minors.
The trend, to say the least, has become worrisome. There are even high profile cases that involved the ivory tower and the so-called men of honour. We can vividly recall the sex-formarks scandal that rocked our Universities and other institutions of higher learning in the not-too-distant past. A University of Lagos lecturer, Hafeez Baruwa was slammed with 21 years prison term by an Ikeja High Court for soliciting sex from an 18-year old girl and admission seeker while Richard Akinyele, a clergy of an orthodox Church, and professor of management accounting of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State, who in 2018 demanded sex for marks from Monica Osagie.
There is also the case of a Kogi State commissioner accused of allegedly raping a mother of one. Churches are not spared either as some pastors are reported to forcefully sleep with their members. The list is endless. Some have blamed the rampant incidents of rape on harmful cultural attitude and gender imbalance which tend to favour male children. Rape is a criminal offence that deserves total condemnation. There should be very strict and effective legislation to deal decisively with perpetrators to act as a deterrent to would-be offenders.
We support the Senator Ovie Omo-Agege sponsored bill on the floor of the Senate to address the issue of violence against women and the girl-child. It should be speedily passed. The domestication of the international convention on violence against women of which Nigeria is a signatory should be pursued with renewed vigour. We commend the Lagos State Government among the few states in the country for taking the initiative to end violence against women and the girl-child. However, legislation alone cannot win the war. Proper implementation and enforcement of the law remains an essential factor in check-mating and putting an end to rape in our society