Senate calls for stiffer punishment for rape, sexual assault
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan
The Senate, on Tuesday, urged State Houses of Assembly to amend penal and criminal code of their respective states to make the penalties for rape and sexual assault stiffer.
This followed a motion on “increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl child in Nigeria”, by Senator Sandy Onor (PDP, Cross River Central).
Senator Onor, in his lead debate, cited cases of assault against the girl child, including the rape and the brutal killing of a first-year undergraduate student of the University of Benin, Miss Vera Omozuwa, inside a church in Edo State where she went to study last week.
He said the brutality and rape cases against the girl child in Nigeria are on the rise, with some of these cases reported and several others, admittedly unreported.
“The average young girl in Nigeria is obviously becoming terrified and scared to live with and trust her close male relatives and neighbours,” he said.
Onor expressed worry that the negative physical, psychological and emotional effects of rape and brutality on young girls might impact them for the rest of their lives with attendant consequences on their self-esteem and general productivity.
He said if proactive measures were not taken by relevant authorities to curb these acts and bring the culprits to justice, the cases of sexual assault and brutality will rise even further.
All the senators, who contributed to the debate, joined in calling for stiffer penalties for sexual assault and rape of young girls.
The Senate, in its resolutions, condemned the killings of the young girls and called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.
The Upper Chamber urged the Federal Government to stage a campaign against the increasing brutality and rape of the girl child.
It also called on the relevant security authorities to evolve proactive measures to checkmate these occurrences.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said having in place stiffer penalties in Nigeria’s criminal and penal code will serve as deterrent to perpetrators involved in the act.
“We stand together shoulder to shoulder on this, and I think we need to make the penalties for rape stiffer to be sufficient deterrent for those who are involved in this, or who even desire to be involved.
“We have to save our future, and these girls and women are the future of this nation,” the Senate President said