There is an increase in reported cases of rape in Ibadan
There are over 20 reported cases in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, monthly, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
A survey by a correspondent in Ibadan showed that the menace is fast assuming a dangerous dimension with reported abuse of minors.
James Ajibola, the legal adviser to the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Oyo state chapter, one of those polled in the survey, said that rape was one of the social vices currently ravaging the society.
He said that aside from the fact that it has become an aberration, under-aged girls are now major targets of rapists, leaving their victims with horrible experiences.
The legal practitioner said that the Nigeria constitution defines rape and spells out penalties for culprits which range from two to 14 years jail term, depending on the severity of the crime or court’s discretion.
He said that it was very difficult to give an accurate statistic of rape cases, because of a number of factors.
According to him, the intervention by various people to settle rape cases out of court had contributed to seeing rapists go unpunished and thus encouraged more rape cases.
“Over 20 new rape cases are recorded on a monthly basis in Ibadan alone, with only one out of 100 per cent rape cases receiving diligent prosecution,” he said.
Intimidation and poverty on the part of the victims, he noted, were other reasons why rapists go free.
In his own submission, Benjamin Olley, a lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan, described rapists as insane.
He wondered why the quest for power and materialism should result into the destruction of innocent and under-aged girls.
“The situation in which men have sexual intercourse with under-aged girls is abnormal,” he said.
He recommended that psychiatric tests be carried out on rapists, wondering why any man, in the name of ritual or power, would defile the opposite sex.
Mr. Olley noted that the act had many negative implications for the victims.
“They are exposed to various sexually transmitted diseases and more often than not, they lose their self-esteem or could even become promiscuous,” he said.
A rape victim who gave her horrible experience in court during a cross examination felt dejected in her account.
The victim, a 25-year old undergraduate student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, said that the rapist threatened to behead her if she refused to allow him.
The two-month pregnant lady narrated that the culprit had other men who collaborated with him to ensure that the illicit act was carried out on her in spite of her plea.
“When I was shouting, some men were there, but did not help me,” she said.
Another Ibadan based legal practitioner, Jelil Rufai, explained that the Nigerian society was in a serious immorality crisis with different degrees of disintegration in social values and norms.
He added that unemployment was one of the root causes of rape, which had conversely led young men to drugs and to their uncontrolled urge for sex.
“I also suggest that men who are of age should get married,” he added.
A human right activist with the Child Protection Network, a non-governemntal organisation, who preferred anonymity, linked the menace to the high divorce rate in the society.
According to him, many couples had abandoned their vulnerable children to be raped by idle men.
`I will also advise our girls to shun provocative dresses,” he said.
He called for the collaboration of all stakeholders, urging them to be vigilant and to report suspected rapists.
He also called on the Police and the courts to urgently tackle the numerous rape cases on ground.
“If we have quick dispensation of rape cases, it would discourage the offenders,” he said.
Olabisi Clet-Ilobanafor, the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, condemned the crime, saying that men who engaged in the act had fallen below the animal level.
She, however, said that the command would soon begin a police community outreach programme against rape.
“The programme, when it starts, will aim at enlightening girls on how to avoid being raped by men,” she said.
She, however, stressed that it would also include surveying some areas, which may serve as hideouts for rapists.
Grace Akinsehinwa, a prosecutor and an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who has prosecuted many rape cases in Ibadan, lamented the increase in the rate of rape, especially of minors.
Ms. Akinsehinwa blamed many parents and guardians, whose children and wards have been defiled or raped, for not pursuing their cases to logical conclusion.
She added that those parents and guardians would rather prefer to keep mute rather than expose those involved, all in the name of protecting the minor’s future.
She noted that the Nigerian Police has been educating parents, guardians and women on the readiness of the police to assist them in the prosecution of cases.
Ms. Akinsehinwa advised all stakeholders to resist all forms of intimidation in the process of getting justice.
An Islamic scholar, Siyanbola Amzat, in his remark said that Almighty Allah forbids anyone from engaging in rape.
“Those who rape would not want to see their love ones raped,’’ he said.
According to him, the Sharia legal system required any unmarried man who rapes to be given 100 whips even if he is dying and any married man to be stoned to death.”
“Since Nigeria is not an Islamic nation, men should engage their minds and bodies in holy activities like fasting,” he said.
In his contribution, Sola Mene, a pastor, said that the issue of rape was contrary to the scripture just like other forms of sexual immoralities.
Mr. Mene encouraged parents to monitor the movement of their children by not allowing them to associate with people who they cannot vouch for.
He advised parents to educate their young ones on the need to have self worth and teach them proper values of life.