From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Worried by increasing cases of child defilement in the country, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday called on state Houses of Assembly to pass stringent laws that will check the trend which he described as unacceptable.
He said it takes the level of lunatics to defile children aged seven and 10, adding that such persons must be sent to prison to serve as deterrent to others.
The governor stated this when he received the new leadership of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Edo State branch, led by Mrs Maria Edekor in his office.
“We will not do enough if we continue to lament defilement and rape, all the violent crimes that are targeted at women. The number of rape cases has been on the increase including the number of defilement of children, it is totally unacceptable. I am not sure anybody can really explain why these vices are on the increase, maybe the level of lunatics that have not been formally declared lunatics are everywhere because I think it takes a lunatic at 40, 60 or even 70 years old to look at a baby under 10 years and defile her.
“These are not normal people and we need to put such people out of circulation by sending them to prison. I think we also decided to amend the law on defilement to prescribe stiffer penalties. Part of the challenge of the Nigeria condition is that people are happy to tell you to charge us to court, so we need to set up special courts or assign some judges to dedicate their time in prosecuting cases that have to do with defilement or crimes against women and children.
“With that, we will ensure that within six months, we will complete prosecution. When we begin to send rapists to prison others will learn to respect women and not violate the rights of the child,” Oshiomhole said.
Earlier, Mrs Edekor said they had visited to inform the governor of their forthcoming FIDA week, with the theme ‘Women Representation a Catalyst for Global Development’.
She said they had decided to discuss the issue of electoral violence as a barrier to effective participation, adding: “We are also dealing with persons with disabilities. We are asking that it should be a constitutional right for them to be appointed into positions.
“We have a bill on Violence Against Persons Prosecution Act before the House of Assembly for domestication. It came into being in 2015, we will ask for accelerated action so that it will come into place. We need a secretariat because we have several children we recovered from molestation but we don’t have where to keep them,” she said.