Tackling domestic and sexual violence in Nigeria

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Recently,  Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode  backed the 25-year jail term prescribed for rapists and perpetrators of all forms of domestic violence, saying that the time had come to take more aggressive steps to put a stop to the menace.

Going by the frightening statistics by the authorites, the support given to severe punishment to perpetrators of rape and domestic violence by Ambode should be applauded

Some time ago, the Lagos state government disclosed that in the last one year, it handled a total of 4,035 cases ranging from rape, child abuse, sexual assault, defilement, divorce, matrimonial issues, child’s custody and maintenance. The Lagos authorities have also vowed not to shy away from prosecuting perpetrators of domestic crime no matter how highly placed in the society.

The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who spoke on the activities of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in the last one year, said government, through the agency, equally handled a total of 192 cases. Out of those cases, Kazeem said the government dealt with 89 domestic violence cases, 62 defilement cases, 18 rape cases, six attempted rape, 10 child neglect and seven child abuse cases, while 92 cases were currently being heard in court

In far away Kano, the Police authorities also revealed that 334 rape cases were reported to the police in 2017. In a country where illiteracy and intimidation of victims of rape cases is very high, most of the rape, majority of the rape cases are mostly unreported to law enforcement agencies.

The statement by a Chief Executive of a State like Ambode that  “Rape should not be met with light sentencing; the minimum sentence of 25 years is highly recommended. We need new laws, which will respond adequately to the nature and occurrences of this era. Domestic violence is a crime, and should be treated as such. The Protection Against Domestic Violence Law 2007 should therefore be amended accordingly” and seen as a very clear message to would-be perpetrators to stake their lives, dreams, aspirations and achievements for an infatuation decision they will forever regret in a dungeon.

We want to encourage all state governors and houses of assembly to tighten the laws against domestic and sexual violence in the society.

Cases of domestic and sexual violence exist in various places including homes, work places, higher institutions of learning and even in religious places. Several  rape cases involving clerics had been reported in the media. It is becoming more rampant daily, thus making the lives of our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters – to be at risk. Recently, boys and men are now victims of rape too.

The Police should be proactive in dealing with the cases. We implore the police to treat cases on their merits and not to sweep cases under the carpet because of the status of person(s) involved. All offenders must be made to face the music.

The courts should also dispense justice on time. Justice delayed is justice denied. Several time wasting techniques of the lawyers should be stopped.

The emotional and psychological trauma the victims go through is better imagined than experienced. Many got diseases from such nightmarish encounters while there are reported cases of lives lost also.

We want all the three arms of government, Executive, legislature and judiciary to unite over the issue of domestic and sexual violence so that we can have better and saner society

 

 

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