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Anxiety over increase in rape of minors

The increasing cases of rape of minors and teenagers by some irresponsible adults is assuming alarming proportion as the occurrence seems to be the order…

The increasing cases of rape of minors and teenagers by some irresponsible adults is assuming alarming proportion as the occurrence seems to be the order of the day.
With the high number of rape cases and defilement of young girls by unscrupulous adults in the society today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand the rationale behind the evil act.
The resultant effect of this menace has continued to make nonsense of efforts by parents and other stakeholders to nip the trend in the bud. However some members of the society have attributed the increasing rate of rape to social decadence and nonchalant attitude of some parents.
Many say that the economic downturn the country is presently facing has forced many parents to pursue wealth at the detriment of proper care for their children, which in turn exposes them to strangers who capitalize on the situation to indulge in such devilish act with them.
Some rape cases recorded in Kaduna
In June, 2016, a 47-year-old man said to be HIV positive was arrested by the police for raping a 12-year-old girl in Kaduna. The accused raped the girl in her parent’s room in Unguwar Boro, a community in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
A resident close to the house said the man forcefully dragged the girl into the room and raped her having noticed that her parents were not around.
When the accused noticed that she was alone in the house, he asked her to come inside the room, pretending to have a message for her parents but that the girl refused. The man pounced on her and dragged her into the room and raped her, the neighbour said.
Also in June, it was reported that a 24-year-old man, Haruna Tukur, was remanded in prison for defiling a six-year-old girl in Kaduna. The accused was said to have lured her to an uncompleted building in Malali and raped her.
Similarly in May, this year, a 31-year-old man was handed over to the police for allegedly raping his two year-old-daughter at Gonin-Gora, a community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The raped minor, our reporter learnt, was releasing discharges from her vagina as a result of the evil act.
The accused was however exposed by his neighbours who reported the case to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development after which he was handed over to the police. Even though Joseph denied the allegation, residents close to him testified that he is known for such ungodly act.
Another girl of eight years who resides with her guardian somewhere in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State has constantly been sexually abused by one of the young boys in the neighbourhood where her guardian usually keep her and her little niece.
On getting to know about the issue, the guardian instead of handling it with all the seriousness it deserves, reported the issue to the perpetrator’s aunt who happen to be her friend. The aunt warned her brother and that was where the case ended.
Women, mothers are lamenting
According to the former Permanent Secretary of Kaduna State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Hauwa Usman Umar, the issue of rape is something that is of grave concern. She blamed the inadequacies of the law to prosecute perpetrators for the rising rate of the evil act.
Also, the chairperson of the Kaduna State chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Juliet Nwogu Oyoyo, has in strong terms condemned the act of rape. She disclosed the plan of the association to organize a rally to kick against rape and molestation of the female folk.
Mrs Christiana Ali of Restoration Ministry also advised government to empower the justice system so that stringent punishment could be meted out to whoever is found guilty of rape in the country to serve as a deterrent.
Similarly, the proprietress of Usra Academy in Kaduna, Hajiya Halimatu Sadiya Baba, has decried the increasing cases of rape of minors in the state and Nigeria at large, saying, capital punishment be meted on perpetrators.
According to her, many perpetrators of the evil act go unpunished while families of victims fail to raise alarm for fear of stigmatisation.
She, therefore called on perpetrators of such acts to desist and change their ways saying, “If they are not caught here on earth, they will give account of their deeds on judgement day.”
She also called on both federal and state governments to mete capital punishment on perpetrators to serve as detriment to others.
Hajiya Maryam Abubakar, a housewife and mother, said her heart bleeds when young girls are seen battling fistula as a result of being raped.
“It is disheartening that young girls are being raped by either their fathers, brothers, uncles, friends and other relatives among others.
“If you see the authorities punishing anyone for rape case, I bet you that person is from a poor home and background. The rich feel that they are untouchable and above the law. I therefore urge government and the juvenile courts to bring to justice anyone found guilty of rape, without fear or favour. There should be absolute equality before the law,” she stressed.
Religious leaders also express their worries.
Malam Halliru Abdullahi Maraya, the immediate past special adviser to the Governor of Kaduna State attributed the spate of rape cases to the fact that offenders were not punished. He called on government, particularly the legislative arms, across the country to ensure that laws are brought to bear to tackling the menace.
“If that is not done, automatically we are going to have very bad schools in future for all and sundry. I once again repeat that it is unfortunate that small children are being destroyed at the time that they are supposed to be well trained not by their parents alone but by the larger society.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that we give them care, support and all that they need to become good future leaders,” he said.
Malam Halliru said: “Impunity must stop. For instance, in Nigeria as a whole, how many people are serving jail terms for committing rape? They can be counted on one finger, so it is very unfortunate. The young girls are being denied their right to education, they are being denied their right to their virginity, they are as well being denied their right to self-fulfillment.
“We have to make sure that this menace comes to an end and the only way I think this can be done is by mitigating impunity. People should be brought to book, people should be prosecuted, people should be jailed so as to serve as deterrent to others.”
What is government doing?
Angered by the rising cases of rape of minors in Kaduna, Governor Nasir el-Rufai has recently declared war on rape, saying his administration would henceforth follow any reported case to conclusion irrespective of whose ox was gored.
El-Rufai lamented activities of rapists in the state, saying his administration would employ all legal means to deal with the menace. He said a bill is currently being worked upon by the state assembly to address the issue of rape.
He also disclosed that the 19 northern states governments are currently reviewing the penal code to replace the obsolete punitive measures attached to rape in the region.
He urged distressed persons to reach security operatives in the state on the following numbers: 08064810576, 08050366625 for prompt intervention.
“The issue of rape has gone beyond adults alone as it used to be, as minors are now falling victim by the day. The state government is giving a lot of priority to security through multi-dimensional approach to nip the menace in the bud. One of the measures is to ensure that all laws related to the issue of crime in the state, including rape, are strengthened by improving the capacity of the judiciary,” he said.

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