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Published On: Wed, Dec 3rd, 2014

Summit advocates stiffer penalty for convicted rapists

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Crime_03Participants at a one-day stakeholder’s summit on Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill on Tuesday advocated a jail term without option of fine for convicted rapists in Enugu State.

This was part of the resolutions of the summit organised by the Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), a non-governmental organisation in Enugu.

It said the call was necessary to serve as deterrent to others against the increased cases of rape and domestic violence.

The summit also resolved that keeping such rapists behind bars would not only deter others from perpetrating the act, but would reform the offenders after serving their term.

“Paying fine may not make the rapists to suffer any physical or psychological pain,’’ the summit stated.

It also called for the review of the Evidence Act on rape cases, saying that it was ambiguous, stringent and cumbersome and made the proof of evidence difficult.

“A situation where the law says that the victim should provide a third party evidence to prove a rape case is difficult.

“This explains why most of the rapists go free for want of evidence,’’ the summit said.

It also called on the government and non-governmental organisations to fund an agency that would prosecute rape cases and violence against persons.

It said this would reduce the incidences of settlement out of court or victims refusing to prosecute the case for fear of stigmatisation.

In her remarks, Dr Joy Ezeilo, the Executive Director of WACOL, called for sustainable collaboration among stakeholders in the fight against all forms of violence in the society.

Ezeilo said WACOL recorded 160 cases of rape in six months in Enugu State, urging victims of rape or violence, their relations or friend to speak out to expose the perpetrators.

She said that a register of those convicted of rape would soon be opened in the state as obtainable in developed societies.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that theme of the summit is “In Search of Effective Remedies for Victims and Survivors of Violence against Persons’’.

It was organised in collaboration with the Legislative Advocacy Coalition for Violence against Women under the Voices for Change Project.

The summit was attended by security agencies, the media, civil society groups and other stakeholders in the prevention of violence. (NAN)

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