Hello Nigerians, thank God is Friday and welcome to the Inspiring Country Actions Series!
As usual, in this segment, we showcase interesting Government policies and actions to the world as part of our Rebrand Nigeria Campaign.
In this edition, our focus is on what the Government is doing to ensure rape and other gender based violence are a thing of the past.
Rape is like cancer, it has no respect for age, sex or race. It starts from a spot and then gradually spreads to the entire body system. In recent times, the spike in rape cases in Nigeria has been overwhelming.
It has been argued that one of the reasons that the menace of rape has not been effectively curtailed over the years is not the absence of relevant laws to bring culprits to book but the weakness in implementation.
In Nigeria, there are at least five legal provisions which provide access to justice for rape victims and abused persons.
There is the Criminal Code, applicable in all the southern states
The Penal Code, applicable in all the northern states and the Criminal Laws of Lagos – applicable only in Lagos State.
The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, (VAPP) applicable only in the FCT and the Child Rights Act applicable in the states that have implemented it.
The Child Rights Act (CRA) provides that sex with a child is rape, and anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child is liable to imprisonment for life upon conviction.
In the wake of this mayhem, the Governors of Nigeria’s 36 states, (Nigerian Governor’s Forum, NGF) have resolved to declare a state of emergency on rape. Following NGF meeting, the Forum has called on all states to set up a sex offenders register and to sign on to two federal laws which punish rape and violence against women and children.
Furthermore, The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has assured that a committee will soon be inaugurated to process speedy trial of cases involving rape and girl child molestation in fulfillment of the Ministry’s mandate and its determination to urgently address this heinous crime.
While we applaud the efforts of the Nigerian government in ensuring that rape and other gender based violence are brought to the barest minimum, we call on the lawmakers to enact national laws on rape and gender based violence and for the designated authorities to ensure that these penalties are enforced. It is not just enough to make laws.
More so, Nigerians are encouraged to speak out and report such cases as soon as they occur. The government cannot work in isolation. For Nigeria to win this war against rape, all hands must be on deck.
At the #UgwumbaLeadershipCenter, we see these measures as real “inspiring country actions” from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Remember, this campaign is powered by the Ugwumba Center for Leadership Development in Africa.