The Lagos State Police Command has revealed that the command recorded 678 cases of rape in the state.
The statistics by the police shows that the number of rape cases was reported between March 2012 and March 2013.
The statistics is coming against the backdrop that rape of minors has been on the increase in Nigeria despite the various laws on rape.
This ugly trend reported in the media and social media however does not depict the true statistics on rape as most rape victims do not have their cases reported to the police and therefore the rapists go scot free.
A 47-year-old man was arrested in Lagos State in March for serially raping of his seven-year-old daughter and his one month old granddaughter.
The suspect identified as Sylvester Ehijere was exposed by his wife who noticed blood stains on the toddler’s thigh.
The seven-year-old girl told the police that her father had raped her serially but the suspect blamed the devil for the crime.
He has since been charged to court.
Also, a 13-year-old girl narrated how she was gang raped by three men in Lagos State.
The victim, a Junior High School student, dropped out of school because she got pregnant as a result of the rape.
The girl (name Withheld) said she was lured into a neighbour’s apartment at number 19, Majaro Street, Mafoluku area of Lagos State, Nigeria in August 2012.
According to her, one Emenuwa Achonam, a married man with five children, invited her into his room under the guise of assisting him with some chores only for him to pounce on her and sexually assault her.
She said: “Brother Achonam (Emenuwa Achonam) called me to buy drinks for his visitors. But when I got inside to collect the money, he asked me to pull my clothes and they started dipping their hands inside me then they slept with me it was brother Achonam that first slept with me then his two friends had their way. When Emenuwa was done having his way with me, he also gave the go ahead to his two friends who were in his apartment to also rape me. After they had their way, they made fun of me and ordered me to leave the room, threatening that they would kill me.”
The traumatized girl carried the burden for months until she became ill and the doctor confirmed she was pregnant.
Following the girl’s confession, the suspects were arrested.
The police gave their names as Godwin Udoh, 22; and Emenike Orji, 20.
The case has since been charged to the Ikeja family court in Lagos.
An 85-year-old man, identified as Baba Yellow, an alleged notorious rapist in Shomolu community in Lagos State, was almost lynched over allegation he raped a 14-year-old girl.
The residents alleged that Baba Yellow was caught defiling young girls but the parents of the girls would rather let him off the hook due to his old age.
Narrating how she was raped, the girl said: “I met Baba Yellow at Sunday market at Shomolu. My guardian sent me to the market to get food stuffs. Baba Yellow came walked up to me and I greeted him. He then gave me some money and asked me to come to his house. When I didn’t show up, he later came to our premises to look for me. That was how we went to his room and he raped me.”
One of the mothers pleaded with the police to jail the octogenarian for life. The woman, who gave her name as mama Ayomide. said: “Baba Yellow has lived in Shomolu for 30 years. He has four grown up children and grand children but this man will not allow little girls to walk on the streets. Mothers have warned their daughters to stay far away from this man but he has a way of luring them. The first time he was arrested for rape, he served a prison term once for molesting a young girl but when he came back from the prison, he had continued in this wayward way. This man hypnotizes these girls. In 2005, Baba Yellow was arrested and convicted of sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl. He served three years in Kirikiri. Also, in 2011, he was arrested by the Alade police officers for raping another nine-year-old girl.”
The Child Protection Network, a Non-Governmental Organisation, informed the police about the rape of a minor by a 62-year-old man, Alabi Ibrahim. The 10-year-old victim said her stepfather had slept with her many times. She said: “Daddy always sleeps with me when mummy is not around and always tells me not to tell anybody, else I would die. I have lost count of the number of times stepfather slept with me.”
The stepfather escaped after the incident but the police later caught up with him.
He was charged to court and the case was adjourned for further hearing till November 29, 2013.
Commenting on the rape incidents in Lagos State, the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, in an exclusive interview, stated that the police does not spare rapists.
Manko said: “We prosecute rape cases that come our way in accordance to the law while we protect the identities of the victims. Honestly, I don’t know what you mean by settling cases in police stations. In law, any case that is horrendous in nature is not compoundable. If somebody is callous enough to defile a three-year-old child, that man is a mentally deranged human being and the police in Lagos State will not compound that crime.
“It is natural for the parents to want to withdraw the case because of the moral implication, but the law must take its course. Somebody that defiled a child must go to jail as the law does not give room for the family to withdraw a case that is horrendous in nature. Like I told you, there are offences that can be compounded and there are those that cannot be compounded and rape cannot be compounded so no officer can compound rape.”
According to the Lagos State Government, the state Ministry of Justice recorded 427 cases of rape in 2012.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, expressed worry over the alarming cases of rape.
This number is not however reflective of the true statistics on rape as most rape incidents are not reported to the police, Ipaye said.
Ipaye stated that most cases on rape are not reported due to stigmatization.
He said: “It is regrettable that other cases were not reported by parents wanting to protect the integrity and identity of the child-victim. Though the Office of the Public Defender got positive judgments in respect of six cases recently, the ministry had serious challenges in assembling evidence on rape cases because most of the cases were reported late.”
Protesting the spate of rape in Nigeria, a coalition of civil society groups in Nigeria last year marched to the office of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State carrying placards and chanting anti-rape slogans to draw the attention of the government to the increasing cases of rape in the country.
The Legal Defence and Assistance Project, a coalition of 22 NGOs, in conjunction with the National Youth Service Corps, took part in the protest.
Adaobi Egboka, the Executive Director of LEDAP, said: “We are not saying the state government is doing nothing. But it has to do more. Rape cases should be prosecuted in such a way that victims and parents of victims will be willing to come forward and make reports.”
The women therefore called on the government to strictly enforce the law against rape so as to serve as a deterrence to others.
Ineffective laws on rape in Nigeria
Barrister Funmi Falana, a Lagos-based lawyer and public commentator, in an article to mark the 2013 International Women’s Day, stated that Nigeria’s Constitution is biased against women.
Falana also strongly condemned the law against rape, which the Nigerian Constitution portrays as merely a misdemeanor.
She said: “By virtue of section 353 of the Criminal Code Act, any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults any male person is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years. But Section 360 of the Act regards indecent assault of a woman, a misdemeanor, which attracts a punishment of two years imprisonment.
“Under section 55 (10) of the Penal Code, corporal punishment of a married woman by her husband for the purpose of correcting her is legally justified and permissible. Worse still, a person cannot be convicted of any of the aforementioned offences “upon the uncorroborated evidence of one witness”. The serious criminal offence of having carnal knowledge of a girl being of or above 13 years and under 16 years of age or of a woman or girl who is an idiot or imbecile is classified as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by two years imprisonment under Section 221 of the Criminal Code. Even then the accused may be discharged and acquitted if he can prove that he believed on reasonable grounds that the girl was of or above the age of 16 years.”
Barrister Ene Sarah Unobe, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Education and Awareness Centre, stated that the effects of rape in minors are destructive.
Unobe said: “Child sexual abuse or child molestation is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) to a child with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to intimidate or groom the child, physical sexual contact with a child, or using a child to produce child pornography.
“The effects of child sexual abuse can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems. Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest, and can result in more serious and long-term psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.”
On why rape will continue in Nigeria, Barrister Unobe said the family, law enforcement officers, culture, religion and tradition help to promote rape.
She said: “We have seen several cases of rape where the family will come and withdraw the petition that their church or village members will solve it. Some will be afraid of the stigma so they stay back and settle with the man and let him off the hook. This does not help in prosecuting the suspects.”
According to a 2009 study published in Clinical Psychology Review that examined 65 studies from 22 countries: “The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at 19.7% for females and 7.9% for males, Using the available data, the highest prevalence rate of child sexual abuse geographically was found in Africa (34.4%), Most child sexual abuse is committed by men; studies Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as ‘friends’ of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases.”
Nigeria to get tougher laws on rape
The House Representatives report on a bill for an Act on “Violence Against Persons” (Prohibition) is seeking stiffer penalties for rapists’.
The 51-clause bill, which was sponsored by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency in Lagos State, was extensively considered and adopted by the lawmakers.
A section of the bill alludes: “Any man convicted of rape is liable to life imprisonment. Persons convicted of gang-raping any victim shall be liable, jointly and severally, to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment without an option of fine; where the offender is less than 14 years, he shall be liable to a maximum of 14 years imprisonment and a minimum of 12 years, without an option of fine. That any person who compels another by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act of sexual or otherwise to the detriment of the victim’s physical or psychological well-being, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding N500,000 or both.”