Pae­dophilia: Dreaded mon­ster that must be tamed

Daily Trust - - CRIME -

The alarm­ing num­ber of cases of mi­nors get­ting raped is rais­ing con­cern among Nige­ri­ans.

A mi­nor, ac­cord­ing to the Child’s Right Act, 2003, is a child be­low the age of 18.

A United Na­tions sur­vey re­veals that about 120 mil­lion girls around the world, slightly more than one in 10 have been raped or sex­u­ally as­saulted.

In 2015, UNICEF re­ported that one in four girls in Nige­ria had ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual vi­o­lence be­fore the age of 18.

How­ever, Daily Trust checks re­veal that 71 cases of mi­nor rape were re­ported be­tween Jan­uary and June this year. It shows that La­gos State has the high­est num­ber of mi­nor rape cases, fol­lowed by the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) Abuja.

Of re­cent, the me­dia have been awash with re­ports of acts of pae­dophilia. It ap­pears that most of the men­folk have lost their de­cency and con­science.

The Van­guard edi­tion of April 7th re­ported the ar­rest of a 33-year-old man iden­ti­fied as Henry Ok­wuome by the po­lice­men in La­gos for al­legedly de­fil­ing an 8-year-old girl.

In May, it was re­ported in Lead­er­ship how a 50-year-old man, Ade­bayo At­tahiru, was ar­rested by the po­lice in Niger State for al­legedly rap­ing a 4-year-old girl. If you think this is pa­thetic and shock­ing, the next one is more hor­rific.

On May 17, Daily Trust re­ported how a 25-year-old man iden­ti­fied as Nenekeso raped a tod­dler to death in Ganye Lo­cal Area of Adamawa State.

Sadly enough, many so-called revered men of God are also caught in the web of sex­ual attraction to chil­dren and ac­tu­ally de­fil­ing them.

On May 10, the Punch re­ported how a 62-year-old pas­tor Isa­iah Aki­nojo, the founder of Dayspring Fam­ily Chapel, Egbeda area, Ibadan al­legedly de­filed a seven-year-old girl, who is the daugh­ter of his friend and fel­low pas­tor.

Go­ing by the philo­soph­i­cal ob­jec­tive of ed­u­ca­tion, teach­ers are sup­posed to be role mod­els to their stu­dents. Un­for­tu­nately, pae­dophilia has be­come the past time of some of the male teach­ers. On March 29, ThisDay re­ported that one Ba­batunde Ibitoye, the owner of God’s Grace Nurs­ery and Pri­mary school in Ajilo­sun, Ado Ek­iti was sen­tenced to 10 years in pri­son for rap­ing a 10-year-old pupil of his school.

Reasons for the surge in the scourge

Mrs. Veron­ica Umaru, the na­tional co­or­di­na­tor of Women Traf­fick­ing and Child Labour Erad­i­ca­tion Foun­da­tion (WOTCLEF) at­trib­uted the in­ces­sant cases of rape of mi­nors to the dys­func­tional fam­ily sys­tem and the re­cent eco­nomic down­turn. She lamented that par­ents who are sup­posed to be a moral com­pass to their wards are not al­ways there for them.

“Most par­ents are now busy look­ing for means to eke out a liv­ing for the fam­ily. So, chil­dren are now left to be on their own,” she said.

She urged par­ents to live up with their parental re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Beyond the act

An Abuja-based med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner and Gen­eral Man­ager of Biotec Lab­o­ra­tory Prod­ucts, Dr. Idigu David, said the af­ter­math ef­fects of the heinous act are grue­some. He said the vic­tims of the act are ex­posed to sex­ual trans­mit­ted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hep­ati­tis C, Hep­ati­tis B and syphilis.

“Other im­me­di­ate ef­fects of mi­nor rape are un­wanted preg­nancy and in­juries as a re­sult of dam­age of the vic­tims’ vagina caused by force­ful pen­e­tra­tion” he added.

He, there­fore, ad­vo­cated for sex ed­u­ca­tion to sen­si­tize the mi­nors on how to avoid and pro­tect them­selves against the act.

In­ef­fec­tive law on pae­dophilia

Sec­tions 31 and 32 of the Child’s Right Act, 2003 make child rape case a crim­i­nal of­fence which at­tracts life im­pris­on­ment or 14 years im­pris­on­ment. In a bid to curb the men­ace, the Se­nate last year passed the Sex­ual Of­fences Bill which pre­scribes life im­pris­on­ment for rapists and those who have sex­ual in­ter­course with chil­dren un­der 18 years. De­spite the ex­is­tence of th­ese laws, cases of mi­nor rape con­tinue to spike steadily.

An Abuja-based le­gal prac­ti­tioner, Bar­ris­ter Ogun­mola Olaseyi, said the pros­e­cu­tion of mi­nor rape cases is frus­trated by the dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the law.

“For in­stance, the crim­i­nal code states that if the mi­nor con­sented, then there is no rape. On the other hand, the pe­nal code states that whether there is con­sent or not, an in­ter­course with a mi­nor is pun­ish­able un­der the law,” he said.

In spite of the dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions, how­ever, he said the po­si­tion of the law on mi­nor rape is very clear.

“The Child’s Right Act, 2003 spells 14 years or life im­pris­on­ment for the of­fend­ers but un­for­tu­nately, this act has not been im­ple­mented by most states,” he said.

An­other Abuja-based le­gal lu­mi­nary and Hu­man Right Ac­tivist, Bar­ris­ter Kunle Oje­lade, lamented that par­ents don’t re­port most rape cases which he be­lieved was the ma­jor reason for the in­crease in the act.

“We are not God! How do we take up a rape case that we are not aware of?” he fur­ther lamented.

He called on the ju­di­ciary to live up to its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and quicken dis­pen­sa­tion of jus­tice in this re­gard.

Tam­ing the mon­ster

Pas­tor Remi Bankole of Trans­for­ma­tion Life Church, Abuja said the act is an end time sign. He, there­fore, urged par­ents to wake up to their parental re­spon­si­bil­i­ties by in­cul­cat­ing good morals in their wards and be prayer­ful.

Mr. Em­manuel Ok­wudiri, res­i­dent of Jahi dis­trict, Abuja, who at­trib­uted the act to the preva­lent moral deca­dence in the so­ci­ety, ad­vised par­ents to give their wards ba­sic sex ed­u­ca­tion tips and also mon­i­tor their friends.

On her part, Mrs. He­len Tope said: “It is time we all say no to this wicked act. It is wrong to be pointing ac­cus­ing fin­ger only on the moth­ers. We all have a role to play to put an end to this act.”

Sta­tis­tics com­piled by Has­sana Yusuf

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.