• Canvass stricter penalties for culprits

Some Lagos-based Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have expressed displeasure over incessant incidence of sexual molestation in the country, especially in Lagos State as they seek uncompromising justice for victims. Reacting to a recent report which revealed that Lagos alone contends with over 4000 rape and child abuse cases in one year, as well as a recent case involving a 14-year-old Obiamaka Orakwe, who was raped and killed, the NGOs want government to review the constitution and prescribe stricter punishment for perpetrators.

At a protest led by the NGOs in Alausa, Ikeja, recently, founder of Live Abundantly Empowerment Initiative, Dr. Ama Onyerinma suggested that culprits should be placed on the public registry of sex offenders which should be made available to everyone.

“By recording their names in such register, they would fear not to appear on such list,” Onyerinma said. The issues of sexual defilement and domestic violence in the country are getting out of hand and it is necessary that government takes fast action. The rape of a child is against the law and it is a violation of a child’s right. The society must stand against it. Parents, guardians and government should speak up for children who cannot voice out. It’s high time we stopped keeping quiet. I must say that 21 years jail term for rapists is not severe for such a grave offence, government should consider other stricter penalties that would scare perpetrators away.”
Meanwhile, Onyerinma cautioned parents to protect their children as she insisted that the government and communities owed everyone a duty of protecting them. She harped on awareness, education and advocacy as being necessary not only for children to differentiate between right and wrong but to contain the scourge.

Also speaking, foremost rights activist and Executive Director at ACTS, Laila St. Matthew-Daniel, worried that a day hardly passes without reports of defilement and domestic violence, yet none of the perpetrators have been brought to book.
Like in the case of kidnapping where the state has approved death sentence for culprits, she urged the authority to consider castration and death sentence for anyone found guilty of rape as she stated that such a penalty would discourage a potential rapist. She also implored parents to create enough time for their children while teaching them morals.

Representing Lagos State Government, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Lola Akande in her address to the protesters asked for the NGOs to forward a bill to the House of Assembly stating their demands as she promised that the government will treat it with urgency even though the present administration has not relented in its effort to put an end to the menace.