If recent media reports are of any essence, and indeed they are incontrovertibly genuine, the nation is witnessing an unparalleled upward swing in cases of child sexual molestation, rape and other sex offences – especially the most abominable ones where fathers defile their children.
While it is awful that some students of the University of Lagos are currently on trial for gang-raping a female colleague in 2017, even more repulsive is the case of a parent serially defiling his own daughters from age 12 till age 20! In a particular case, a couple was jailed in Kano State for aiding the defilement of a tot kept in their custody!
Currently, a 50-year-old man, Gafar Anifowose, accused of defiling his 16-year-old daughter, is cooling his heels in prison, just as one Gabriel Ogbar, was recently arraigned before an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Special Offences Court, for severally raping her two daughters ages 12 and 13 for several years. He is facing life imprisonment.
Even more grotesque is the arrest of the General Overseer of Jesus Intervention Household Ministry, Rev. Prince Ezuma Chizemdere, for allegedly sodomizing some teenage boys, who are now infected with the Human Immune Deficiency Virus.
Dr. Olajimi Sodipo, a Consultant Family and Sexual Assault Physician at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASTH), known as the Mirabel Center, in Ikeja, told New Telegraph recently that the facility treats an average of 20 cases in a week, and since 2013, it has attended to over 5,000.
Pathetic too was the revelation that most of the perpetrators of the defilements and rapes are family members, fathers, uncles – residents of the same house, thereby posing a very big challenge to the nation. Even more inexplicable is the misdirected inordinate passion of these adults towards minors, instead of seeking consensual relationship with teeming population of matured spinsters in the country.
As regards rape, records have shown that rapists are motivated by power assurance, power assertiveness, anger and retaliation, sadism and opportunism, as have been proven in the cases of students who (gang) rape their female colleagues on campuses for some or all of the above reasons.
However, many criminologists and sociologists are puzzled about what could propel a father to be sexually attracted to his daughter, or what sexual gratification a pastor, custodian of scriptural standards and religious ethos would derive from anal sex, a horrific crime responsible for the annihilation of ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, where the felony sodomy derived its etymology.
With scientific evidence, it is strongly believed that this cruel sadism or moral umbrage constitutes mundane and bizarre sexual behaviours which need urgent attention to reduce them to barest minimal or totally eliminate them. Sadly, the adults who commit these crimes artfully execute them with coercion, abrasiveness, violence, fear and intimidation of the youngsters. Of course, the physical, psychological and medical effects of this spate of sexual assaults, especially on children are unimaginable.
Besides the possibility of a blighted future, as the experience often warp their perception of men, sex and marriage, these children are traumatized for life. It is for this reason we commend Lagos State Government for setting up the Mirabel Centre, and for classification of rape and sexual defilement among very serious crimes by virtue of the provisions of Section 137 of the Criminal Law the state 2015, which said: “Any person who has sexual intercourse with a child commits a felony and is liable, on conviction to imprisonment for life.”
The fact that the law also makes provision for vicarious liability, pursuant to Section 138: “Any person who, being the owner or occupier of any premises or having, acting or assisting in the management or control of any premises, induces or knowingly permits any child to resort to or be in such premises for the purpose of unlawful sexual intercourse or indecent dealing commits a felony and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 14 years,” are possible deterrence. Beyond the legal provisions is the need for the law enforcement agencies to ensure quick and meticulous investigation and prosecution of these cases, irrespective of highly placed the perpetrators are in the society.
Such carefully investigated cases would hasten adjudication and quick sentencing of the felons.
As we commend the police for setting up Juvenile and Women Centres at many Area Commands, we advocate that such officials should be regularly trained on child psychology to enable them provide relevant therapy and emotional succour to victims; even as more non-government organization must be positioned to educate children on safety precautions in the schools and mass media on the necessity to speak out when attempts are made to take advantage of them.
More importantly, we recommend that giving the spread of this felony even in the unexpected places like sanctuary of spirituality, it is high time all state government emulated recent resolve of the Ekiti State to subject rapist and indeed fathers who defile their children to psychiatric test. Why we recognize various religions’ abhorrence of rape and child sexual molestation, we call the various religious bodies to adopt relevant house-cleaning mechanism and descend heavily on those sexual predators, constituting a disgusting thing in the sanctuary.