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Rape: Senators call for death penalty

Rape: Senators call for death penalty

The Senate has come hard on rapists, calling for death penalty to serve as deterrent.The position of the senators followed a motion sponsored by Rose Oko on increasing cases of rape and defilement of minors in the country.

Leading debate on the motion, Oko had drawn the attention of the upper legislative chamber to the growing rate of rape on children and called on her colleagues to take the lead and review existing laws to discourage the trend.

She explained that Six out of 10 children under the age of 18 experience emotional and sexual violence, urging the federal government to implement the child rights act and the violence against persons prohibition act in a bid to curb sexual abuse against minors.

The senators, who were at the forefront of death sentence for rapists, are Oluremi Tinubu, senator representing Lagos central; and Thompson Sekibo, senator representing Rivers east.

Noting that children are vulnerable to the crime, while contributing on the debate, Tinubu said, “It is very criminal and I think it will warrant a death sentence at this point in time. What has been done to this child besides physical damage?

“Most of these acts are done by people living with the victims. They are mostly relatives. It is time we do the right thing to do to curb this menace.

“Parents should be given the orientation how raise their children. They should sensitise their children on sex education too.

“The issue is very controversial and scary. As a mother, if it our children were the ones violated, we know what would have happened. If we look at the society at large, we have not done anything.”

On his part, Sekibo lamented issues of rape are taken for granted, adding, “If a man commits sexual abuse on a six-month old baby, it is criminal. That person ought to be killed not to be sentenced. It has been happening in this country and perpetrators are not punished.

“To abuse a child of six months, is evil. No religion will take it. We should make it a death penalty. By the time you kill two people, people would have leant and they will stop it.

“Are there no laws? don’t we have departments of governments that are handling these laws? The problem is, when issues are reported, people take it for granted.

“When an abuse of such a situation takes place, let the parents report the issue to the police or you come to the Senate. I leant that when a rape case takes place, the private part should not be washed. They should go to the hospital and take the sample.

Dino Melaye (Kogi PDP) on his part, advocated for stiff penalty to checkmate such dastardly act, adding, “this issue is not only satanic, it also wicked. This is one of the satanic manifestations in the country. If we don’t propose stiffer punishments, people will continue to get away with it.

“When you report a case to the police, they treat it as if it is ordinary. Lecturers carry out sex for marks. I want to encourage the sponsor of this motion to go ahead and come up with amendments to deal with this barbaric act.

“There are now cases of male adults defiling small boys. These things must be cured and the Senate must take the lead in ensuring that this doesn’t continue in this country.”

Supporting the motion, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, called on relevant agencies to establish a sex register for offenders, adding, “When these offences are committed, what happens? The lack of stiffer punishment is a major issue we must look at. From examples cited, we must make progress. It is time for us to look at our laws and put sex or rape offenders on a register anywhere in the country.

“The psychological effects can’t be understood. Some adults behaving in certain manners are victims of these acts when they were minors.”

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, said, “the challenges articulated are very apt. We have enough laws to deal with the issues. The area we should look at is sentencing guidelines. There should be a minimum sentencing timeline, it will help.

“We need to look at the status regulating he prerogative of mercy. We have governors and stage chief judges setting free prisoners. I believe we should focus on these areas. We should have the sex offenders register.”

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, who presided over the plenary, said, “this is a sensitive part of our lives. People have taken advantage of minors, even adults. We should not tolerate this. We need to review our laws. We need to pass laws that will discourage people from committing crimes like this one.”

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