By Ochiaka Ugwu
Based on the incessant rape cases recorded recently in Nigeria, a professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Ondo State, Mrs. Adebukola Foluke Osunyikanmi has advocated for a strong law that will put an end to this menace.
Prof. Osunyikanmi who made this known in telephone interview with newsmen, observed that the rape of women in Nigeria has lately risen to a worrisome level.
She said, “No sane person can remain indifferent to the menace. Rape cases are on the increase because of loss of moral values and absence of appropriate sanctions. A morally upright man will never rape any female. There can never be an acceptable justification for this heinous crime.
“In my opinion, there is need for a strong legislation against rape. Any man that violates a girl or a woman must be properly prosecuted in court. Unassailable evidence must be presented to the trial judge so that they can convict the criminal. The penalty for rape must be severe: life imprisonment, confiscation of property and compensation for the victim. There must be no option of fine,” Osunyikanm said.
She asserts that rape enablers and apologists must equally be sanctioned through appropriate legal process, saying this will curb stigmatization.
But Yakubu Sabo, the public relations officer for the police in Kaduna state, said many rape cases involving children are never investigated because parents want to protect their children from being stigmatized.
“Some families kill the evidence,” he said, maintaining the belief that rape victims will not be able to find a suitor for marriage.
However, Professor Osunyikanm insists that legislation must be codified to ensure that a case of rape is not statute barred arguing that the victim should be able to take legal action irrespective of the years that have passed after the crime was committed. “This is the practice in Britain and the United States,” she said.
To further encourage victims to report the criminal, Professor Osunyikanm suggested that the Gender Unit of Nigeria Police Force must be very thorough in the investigation of rape cases and Alternative Dispute Resolution must not be applied to rape cases.