Female rights activist makes case for stringent laws against rape in Nigeria

Following the high rate of child rape across Nigeria, a female rights activist, Barrister Awele Ideal, in Asaba, Delta state, has advocated for stringent laws against rape, a development which she said will reduce the incidence of child rape in Nigeria.

Barrister Awele, who felt heavily pained over the recent death of a 13-year-old Elizabeth Ochanya in Benue state following the rape by her uncle and his son, told Emeraldng.com in an exclusive interview that the wave of child rape will come to the barest minimum if convicted rapists are given life or death sentence.

She said Nigerian government should formulate laws that are stringent and be willing to implement them so as to make Nigeria a safe place for children, adding that the trauma of rape could make the child victim hate men all through her life.

She said: “How will they feel if their own children are being raped? Rape is a crime, it’s wrong, it’s evil. Just imagine the trauma that child will pass through in life. The fear, the trauma they go through when they see the perpetrator, he’s like a monster to them.

“Some of these children grow up hating men. You can’t blame them. Some of them even prefer dying. Some grow up becoming angry. They can kill any man that comes close to them, because they have been abused. They feel so bitter about life. They need to see counselors.”

She then added: “In Indonesia, the suspect is castrated straight away. If we have such laws in Nigeria, will rapists still exist? Once you are proved to have defiled a child you are castrated, so let me know what you will use to defile another person.

“I’m still begging the government and the national assembly to create laws, castration, life sentence or death penalty. I equate their actions to murder. So, please I’m begging them if they don’t stop it, the law will catch up with them.”

Recalling the incidence of Elizabeth Ochanya, who was raped to death in Benue state, Barrister Awele said the damage done to victims is far greater than the five minute pleasure the rapist will receive from the evil act on the children.

“So, I’m begging them to stop it before the law catches up with them. The government should also make the laws stringent,” she added.

Meanwhile, Barrister Awele said the Nigerian law does not support the use of children as house-helps with the belief that besides some fathers who rape their own daughters, most rape incidents occur due to the use of girl-children as house-helps.

She told Emeraldng.com: “We have laws protecting children in Nigeria. Children, generally, should not be sent to other houses as house helps. What can a child of 10, 11, 12 do for you at home? The child herself also needs help. They need care. Just imagine Ochanya joining this family at the age of 8. She was a child and at the age of 8, they started defiling her.

“She was being drugged and used in her vagina and anus. So, what can a child of 8 do for you at home? Is it to sweep the house or wash plate? How strong is the hand? I strongly advise against having a child as house-help. It is wrong before God and man and the law frowns at it.

“That is why right now, children are not allowed to be house-helps anymore. If you want house-helps, go for corporate maids. Go there and register. We, in FIDA, are sensitizing people on it, if you suspect a child is a house-help to a family, report such cases.

“No child should be abused to that level. It is wrong, the law frowns at it. The problem now is that people tell lies over the use of house-helps. They will tell you she is my cousin coming to live with me. But invariably she is just a house-help.”

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