COZA: SENATE CONSIDERS DEATH PENALTY FOR RAPISTS

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Death penalty is the best deterrent against the increasing rape of women and children in various parts of Nigeria, the Senate has said.

A special register of sex offenders which may be disseminated to various countries is also being considered.

Following the tabling of a motion on increasing by Senator Rose Oko (Cross River North) who noted the worrisome increase in rape cases, including one allegedly by the Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, several Senators expressed anxieties over rape crimes.

According to Senator Oko, the worrisome trend of rape cases has become a national problem that should worry the Senate.

In their contributions, other Senators emphasized that the application of death penalty to offenders and the opening of sex offenders would go a long way to serve as a deterrent to the menace.

In his contribution, Senator George Thompson Sekibo who urged parents to report rape cases as soon as they occur towards enabling relevant security agencies effect timely apprehension of culprits also said that death penalty would not only serve as deterrent but ensure that justice is served.

He said: “When an abuse of such a situation takes place, let the parents report the issue to the police or you come to the Senate.

“I leant that when a rape case takes place, the private part should not be washed. They should go to the hospital and take the sample.

“To abuse a child of six months, is evil. No religion will take it. We should make it a death penalty. By the time you kill two people, people would have leant and they will stop it.”

Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) agreed, saying that only very stiff penalties can help eradicate such evil act.

Said Melaye: “This issue is not only satanic, it is also wicked; this is one of the satanic manifestations in the country.

“If we don’t propose stiffer punishment, people will continue to get away with it.

“When you report a case to the police, they treat it as if it is ordinary. Lecturers carry out sex for marks. I want to encourage the sponsor of this motion to go ahead and come up with amendments to deal with this barbaric act.

“There are now cases of male adults defiling small boys. These things must be cured and the Senate must take the lead in ensuring that this doesn’t continue in this country.”

Also, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) backed the death penalty proposal and urged parents to take steps to educate their children on sexual awareness.

 “The issue is very controversial and scary. As a mother, if our children were the ones violated, we know what would have happened. If we look at the society at large, we have not done anything.

“Children are the most vulnerable group; whoever is involved in acts like this should face death.

“I think rape of a minor deserves a death sentence; this is what we need to do to stop this madness.

“Most of these acts are done by people close to these minors, it’s time we step in as a Senate and protect this country.

“Parents too should be given the orientation too on how to raise their children; poverty is a major cause of this and we need to educate the parents to reduce this,” she stated.

In his contribution, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North) urged relevant agencies to establish a sex register for offenders.

“When these offences are committed, what happens? The lack of stiffer punishment is a major issue we must look at.

“From examples cited, we must make progress. It is time for us to look at our laws and put sex or rape offenders on a register anywhere in the country.

“The psychological effects can’t be understood. Some adults behaving in certain manners are victims of these acts when they were minors.”

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, prayed the Senate to look at sentencing guidelines.

Omo-Agege said, “The challenges articulated are very apt. We have enough laws to deal with the issues. The area we should look at is sentencing guidelines. There should be a minimum sentencing timeline, it will help.

“We need to look at the status regulating the prerogative of mercy. We have governors and state chief judges setting free prisoners. I believe we should focus on these areas. We should have the sex offenders register.”

The lawmakers generally agreed that urgent steps should be taken to save the country from rapists.

They also agreed that when constituted, the Senate committee on Judiciary, Police and others related, will push for the implementation of extant laws on rape of women and defilement of minors.

The relevant Senate committees, when constituted, were asked to review relevant legislations on rape.

The Senate further urged the Police to deal decisively with all cases of sexual abuse as a way to stem the tide.

The upper chamber was also worried that only 26, out of 36 states of the federation have so far domesticated the Child Rights Act.

It urged those yet to domesticate the Act to do so without further delay so as to key into its implement.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks noted that the Senate will take the right steps and ensure that relevant laws were passed to discourage the dehumanizing act.

Lawan said: “This is a sensitive part of our lives. People have taken advantage of minors, even adults. We should not tolerate this. We need to review our laws. We need to pass laws that will discourage people from committing crimes like this one.”

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