Federal lawmakers push for death penalty in rape cases

Senators, yesterday, called for the death penalty to serve as a deterrent to the growing cases of rape of women and defilement of minors in the country.

In a motion sponsored by senator Rose Okoh, she called on her colleagues to take the lead and review existing laws to discourage the trend.

She referred to several, recent alleged rape cases, including that of the Senior Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo.

She said it is becoming a national problem.

Firing the first salvo, George Thompson Sekibo from Rivers State, said prescribing a death penalty will end the menace and ensure justice is served.

He also urged parents to report rape cases as soon as it happens, to enable relevant security agencies take the appropriate steps.

Sekibo said: “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.

“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 learnt and they will stop it.”

Supporting the death penalty option, Dino Melaye from Kogi State, said if stiffer penalties are prescribed, people will not continue with the act.

“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 senate must take the lead in ensuring that this doesn’t continue in this country,” Melaye said.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu from Lagos State, also supported death penalty but  restricted her option to when minors are defiled.

She also called on parents to educate their children on sexual awareness.

“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. Children are the most vulnerable group. Whoever is involved in acts like this, should face death.

“I think rape of a minor deserves a death sentence. This is what we need to do to stop this madness. Most of these acts are done by people close to these minors. This is time we stepped in as a senate and protect this country

“Parents, too, should be given the orientation too on now to raise their children. Poverty is a major cause of this and we need to educate the parents to reduce this,” she said.

On his part, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi urged relevant agencies to establish a sex  register for offenders.

He said: “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,” Sabi proposed.

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, urged the Red Chamber to look at sentencing guidelines which he said will help in reducing the trend.

“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 state chief judges setting free prisoners. I believe we should focus on these areas. We should have the sex offenders register,” he said.

When constituted, the Committee on Judiciary, Police and others so related, are expected to push for implementation of extant laws on rape of women and defilement of minors.

To reduce the trend, senate urged the police to deal with sexual abuses of victims.

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