Omozuwa: Nigerian female lawmakers demand stiffer penalty for rapists


SOME female members of the ninth Senate have demanded stiffer penalty for abusers and rapists following the rape and murder Uwa Omozuwa, a 22-year-old undergraduate student of University of Benin, Edo State 

During plenary on Tuesday, Sandy Onor, senator representing Cross River Central Senatorial District asked that the Senate should condemn the spike in rape cases across the country, sighting the cases of a 16-year old Jennifer who was gang raped in Kaduna and Omozuwa.

Seconding the motion, Biodun Olujimi, senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, demanded that proactive measures be taken to protect the girl child. “Rape is real and we must not allow it to go on,” she said.

Olujimi’s submission was re-echoed by Akon Etim Eyakenyi, senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, who  asked that stricter punishment be imposed on abusers.

“It is not just arresting the culprits and taken to the police station, the court and then sentenced to a few years of jail time that is not enough. A severe penalty should be given to such culprits,” she said.



    On her part, Betty Apiafi condemned sexual violations, noting that it has become a regular occurrence in the country which requires stronger advocacy and stricter measures for perpetrators.

    Meanwhile, the Federal Government has ordered a diligent investigation into the most recent rape cases.

    It directed the police to unravel the circumstances surrounding the gang-rape and  murder of Omozuwa, in Benin City and the serial sexual abuse of a minor in Jigawa State by 14 men, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

    In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture,   said that by bringing the perpetrators of the heinous crimes to justice, the Federal Government would be serving a strong notice of its total aversion to gender-based violence in whatever form.

    The Minister described the gang-rape and murder of  Omozuwa  as a cruel and barbaric act that offends human sensibility, in addition to being antithetical to decency, saying no society will tolerate such depravity.
    He also said the serial sexual abuse of a minor by 14 men in Jigawa State is not only repulsive but highly condemnable.
    ”It is said that the true measure of a society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members,” Mohammed noted, assuring that the Federal Government will do everything possible to stem the growing tide of gender-based violence in the country.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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    1. The goal in my mind should not be to propose “stiffer penalties” but to go to the root of why existing laws are not able to adequately lead to the conviction of rapists. The Law and sections in the Nigerian Criminal Law relating to rape as an offence and the ingredients required to be proven before the State can secure a conviction need to be revisited. If the laws are changed but the required ingredients to be proven beyond reasonable doubt is not revisited, then such new laws will still be ineffective as a deterrent to those who commit such heinous crimes against humanity


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