By Kingsley Okoye
The Senate on Tuesday passed some resolutions to review relevant laws that will provide for stiffer sanctions for perpetrators of rape in the country.
The decision of the senate followed a motion of urgent public importance, sponsored by Sen. Rose Oko (PDP-Cross River North), titled “Rising incidence of rape of minors”.
The senate also directed its committees on Judiciary, Police Affairs, Women Affairs and Social Development, when reconstituted, to interface with relevant stakeholders to strategise on implementation of all legislations and policies aimed at protecting minors from rapists and other forms of violence.
The senate also directed the committees to review relevant legislations with a view to providing stiffer penalties against sexual abuse of minors in the country.
It further urged the Police and other law enforcement agencies to conduct mandatory training for officers in dealing with rape cases and young victims of abuse.
It also urged the Judiciary to establish national sentencing framework for child sexual abuse cases and judicial officers, to impose stiffer penalties on perpetrators of all forms of abuses against minors.
The lawmakers further urged state governments to domesticate and implement the Child Rights Act and Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015, to curb the issues of sexual abuse of minors.
Furthermore, it urged the general public to continue to act as watchdogs to curb child sexual abuse and other forms of violent abuse.
Oko, who brought the motion through Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Rule, said the rising incidences of rape of infants and minors in parts of the country are worrisome.
She said that six out of every 10 Nigerians were being raped on daily basis.
The lawmaker noted the shocking rape story of a six-month old baby in Kano and other cases of students being raped by their teachers and lecturers in the nation’s institutions were issues of concern to the parliament.
She lamented that law enforcement agencies had not lived up to their responsibilities in checking the increasing wave of rape in the country.
She therefore called on the senate to evolve ways of providing stiffer measures to serve as deterrent to rapists.
Contributing, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos Central) also described rape of minors as extreme wickedness and called for imposition of death sentence on offenders.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta Central), in his contribution, noted that the country had sufficient laws on rape but lacked the will power to enforce such laws.
He therefore called on the Red Chamber to review the existing laws.
Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu North) also observed that not much was being done on sex education in the nation’s public and private schools for the purpose of educating the children on steps to take when they felt prey to rapists, urging for inclusion of sex education in the education curriculum.
Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani (PDP-Enugu East) said that rape victims would suffer stigma by society and rejection by spouse.
He urged hospital authorities to have rape counselling unit to handle the victims.