Recently, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) proposed death sentence
as retribution for anyone found guilty of corruption. The influential
Northern group believes the country will be cleansed of the monster
affecting growth and development, if the legislature passes its
proposition into law.
However, this commentary is not about the ACF, but a beckon from this
writer that just as in the instance of corruption, death penalty
should also be enacted as the punishment for RAPE.
For the benefit of those who do not appreciate how grave this issue
is, here is a definition of the rape: It is an act of forcing somebody
into sex or the crime of using force somebody to have sexual
intercourse. In other words, a non-consensual sexual activity between
a male and female – or same sex, now that homosexuality has been
I am sick to death and deeply pained by daily (sic) reports of rape of
girls/women. When the country was a bit sane, we only hear of such
news occasionally. But because we have a lazy law enforcement agency
called the Nigeria Police, and a lackluster Judiciary and law courts,
hundreds of culprits have gotten away with this demonic act.
A few hours before I wrote this piece, I stumbled on a story of how a
thirty year old uncle violated his 14-month old niece somewhere in
Jikwoyi, an Abuja suburb. The baby’s mother said: “On that fateful
day, I left my baby with her uncle (the suspect) as I usually do when
I go to the market to get some things. I got back home, prepared our
dinner and fed my baby. After feeding her, I decided to bath her. When
I was washing her bottom she cried profusely. I was confused; I didn’t
know why she was crying like that.”
“When my husband came back, I told him about it and we took her to the
hospital where it was confirmed she has been raped. Since I know I
leave her with her uncle anytime I am going out, I confronted my
husband’s younger brother who denied at first. But when the family
intervened, he confessed to the act.”
As bizarre as this is, we only read the news and then show tardy
sympathy; it ends there. Yet, we have countless non-governmental
organizations that only pocket grants/financial support; we have
federal and state ministries of youths and social development that are
only interested in sports and social functions; we have Directors of
Public Prosecution who – for the most part of the time – swing into
action only when they receive directive from “above”, which sometimes
sounds like heaven.
Like we say in pidgin English, ‘which kind countri be dis sef’! What
kind of nation on earth treats critical cases as dastard as rape with
kid gloves; tell me what kind of government would sit and watch as
able-bodied men go berserk and defile female youngsters. Of course
this can only happen in third world countries – or developing
countries since we like to deceive ourselves.
Come to think of it, what if I raped the daughter(s) of any of the
following: the President or his deputy; National Assembly members;
Judges; Service Chiefs; Ministers; Governors; Board Chairmen;
Ambassadors; Directors-General of Parastatals; Commissioners; First
class traditional rulers; Business magnates or any other prominent
personality in the country? Would I be allowed to move about freely?
Would “My Lords” adjourn my case a dozen times? Would it take many
months/years before justice is dispensed? I think not, for I am as
good as gone.
Take the episode of the late Cynthia Okosogu. Not a few watchers are
of the opinion that the attention the incident attracted, coupled with
the commitment of security agencies in prosecuting the matter was
because Cynthia’s father, Frank Okosogu, was a retired Army General.
The proportion of our mediocrity is so gigantic that it scares the
word. We leave things that matters and waste time on those that don’t.
We set up one committee to monitor or study reports of another
committee after a committee had earlier scrutinized the findings of
that committee or another committee. I succeeded in confusing you
right? It was calculated and to the same degree is how confusing my
motherland could get.
It is unfortunate that we are at this level. Sometimes – and I say
this often – I wonder if God in his wisdom decided to punish some of
us by sending us down to Nigeria. Anything goes!
The seeming relaxed posture of the three arms of government on this
issue is bothersome. I wish to add my voice to the call that the
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria be overhauled.
Presently, the punishments for certain crimes are simply lenient and
this doesn’t depict a serious justice system.
In my piece in the aftermath of the killing of four University of Port
Harcourt students (Aluu 4: Death Penalty or Nothing), I noted that:
“Countries that have said NO to death sentence should prepare for more
murder cases. Nigeria should not bow to pressure to replicate such
decision I hope the accent and colour of our white friends will not
intoxicate our leaders to making that blunder. If European countries
feel a slap on the wrist is suffice for persons who see nothing wrong
in deliberately taking other peoples’ lives (or violate others), they
should go on and do so but let us be.”
Handling rape cases in a frivolous manner is a form of gender
inequality which we all claim to preach against.
If we have to executepeople in order to achieve sanity, then we should begin to work towards that without delay.