The Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA) has called for strict implementation of rape laws and acceleration of rape cases in the courts as ways of tackling the increasing the number of rape incidents in Lagos State and Nigeria in general.
The LSHA also called for the cancellation of stigmatisation of rape victims and handing out of severe punishment for rapists.
The call followed the House of Assembly Motion No. 20, titled “Need to Curb the Incident of Rape, Defilement of Minors and Other Sexual Abuses” that was moved yesterday by Hon. Mojisola Alli-Macaulay (Amuwo Odofin Constituency 1) along with 12 others during plenary.
“The LSHA notes the alarming rate of domestic violence, rape, defilement of minor and other sexual abuses, particularly Lagos State.
“We further note that some victims of sexual assault who were either children of less than twelve years, adults or aged females are left to their fate in the society while the culprits moved freely without fear of being apprehended and prosecuted,” Alli-Macaulay said.
She said the LSHA is concerned by the ordeals of victims of rape and related cases, which includes emotional trauma, shame, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and committing suicide for fear of social stigmatisation.
The legislators, therefore, called on the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the judiciary to ensure that perpetrators of any form of rape and defilement of minors are prosecuted speedily in line with extant laws of the state.
Sanwo-Olu was also ordered to direct the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Poverty Alleviation and Job Creation to ensure that the rights of every victim of sexual assault are protected through the domestic violence agencies in the state.
“The Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team in Lagos State and other relevant agencies to adopt whistle blowing mechanism in the fight against domestic violence, especially rape and defilement of minors.
“The Commissioner for Information and Strategy to intensify efforts on the campaign against sexual abuses and sensitise members of the public to report any form of sexual assault to the appropriate authority in the state and the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command to ensure that offenders of domestic violence, including rape and defilement of minors are made to face full weight if the law,” the motion added.
Speaker of the LSHA, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, stated that “we didn’t have to wait till someone is raped before we take actions,” adding that the motion was meant to prevent rape either among adult or young ones, males and females.
Obasa added that “we should look at morals. What are our religious institutions preaching? Most times, people are particular about survival than the welfare of our children.
“The laws and the prosecution have always been there. We need to look inward. What are the reasons and what are the things we need to do. How many of the cases are being reported? How many will the police handle? How can a three month or there year old child be left alone by her mother?
“We should question the psychological aspect of the matter. The judiciary should be called upon to accelerate any case that has to do with rape,” he said.
In his contributions, Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu 1) stated that the issue of rape was becoming a ‘pandemic’ and that it is even more dangerous than COVID-19.
Olowo, who later recommended castration for rapists, said that parents who conceal facts about rape should be punished.
“Our laws are not effectively implemented and a lot of rape victims later end up committing suicide.
“Our police are not well trained. Some of them even collect bribes. Ladies should dress well and avoid some areas at night.