President of Nigeria’s Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has advocated for stiffer penalties for rape in the country.
Lawan made the call in his concluding remarks on a motion considered to condemn the increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl-child in Nigeria.
According to him, having in place stiffer penalties in Nigeria’s criminal and penal code will serve as deterrent to perpetrators involved in the act.
“We stand together shoulder to shoulder on this and I think we need to make the penalties for rape stiffer to be sufficient deterrent for those who are involved in this, or who even desire to be involved. We have to save our future, and these girls and women are the future of this nation,” the Senate President said.
Earlier, sponsor of the motion on “increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl child in Nigeria”, Senator Sandy Onor (PDP, Cross River Central), noted that on Tuesday, 26th May, 2020, a 16-year-old girl, Tina Ezekwe, was hit by a bullet when a trigger-happy policeman opened fire on a bus in Lagos.
According to the lawmaker, “Efforts to save Tina proved futile as she passed on two days later at a hospital.”
Citing another incident, the lawmaker noted that “on Wednesday, 27th May, 2020, a first year undergraduate of University of Benin, Miss Uwa Omozuwa, was brutalised and raped at her church where she went to study in the evening of that day”
He added that, “Brutality and rape cases against the girl-child in Nigeria are on the rise, with some of these cases reported and several others, admittedly unreported.”
The lawmaker, who bemoaned the lack of safety for the girl-child in Nigeria, said that, “Our young girls may no longer have the confidence to live their normal lives.
“The average young girl in Nigeria is obviously becoming terrified and scared to live with and trust her close male relatives and neighbours.”
The lawmaker further stated that unless timely action is taken against sexual assault and brutality, the absence of same will hinder our growth as a nation.
Accordingly, the Senate in its resolutions called on the state Houses of Assembly to amend the penal and criminal code to make the penalties for rape and sexual assault stiffer so as to serve as deterrent to perpetrators.