From Uche Uche Damaturu
Yobe state governor, Alh. Ibrahim Gaidam has signed into law a bill for the amendment of section 282 of the Penal Code Law that stipulates sentencing rapists to life imprisonment, where the victim is a minor, or 25 years imprisonment, where the victim is an adult.
The governor who said the action was aimed at initiating maximum punishment for rapists, kidnapers and those who commit unnatural offences, added that henceforth, the court shall also award appropriate compensation to the victim as it deems fit in the circumstance.
He equally directed that a register of convicted rape offenders be kept and maintained by the court and also made accessible to the public to portray the shameful act committed by the culprit.
The law, he added, stipulates that whoever takes, entices or confines any person by means of force, trait or deceit such a person without his consent or lawful authority with intent to deprive him of his personal liberty, would be construed to have committed the offence of kidnapping and shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for 14 years.
He stated further that under the signed law, whoever is ascertained and convicted to have carnal knowledge against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, is said to have unnatural offence and should, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for term that may extend to 25 years or not below 14 years.
It is in this regard, he said, that his administration established a citizens’ right department in the state ministry of justice to attend to public complaint, mediate and reconcile disputes in order to ensure speedy dispensation of justice which is an important element in the attainment of a peaceful and egalitarian disciplined and prosperous society.
The state, he added, in order to ensure respect and protection of human rights in the state, set up a committee to review the cases of persons arrested as a result of the insurgency and that, due to the hard work of the committee, some of the suspects were released, discharged and acquitted.
Because of the achievements recorded in the administration of justice in the state under his administration he revealed, the federal government has rated Yobe one of the few states where the human rights and respect for the rule of law are observed strictly.
Other achievements record in the judiciary, he said, includes signing cases as state briefs to private legal practitioners in the state to handle cases of the less privileged inmates to enable them have legal representation in courts as well as effecting monthly payments to the ministry of justice for the prosecution of civil and criminal case, especially in the areas of procuring the attendance of witnesses in courts and defraying their transportation costs.