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Reps Charges FG to Set up special courts for rapists

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The House of Representatives yesterday called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to set up a special court to prosecute cases of rape in the country speedly. This is coming as war against randy lecturers gathers more momentum while the Senate passes Sexual Harassment Bill which stipulates 14-year jail-term for offenders. The bill seeks to stop sexual abuse of female students in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

House of Senate

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said “This is a very important and landmark legislation that this Ninth Senate has passed. We have to protect our daughters from predators. “In the process, we could see clearly that we wanted fair means of determining what offence somebody is accused of, so it is a balanced legislation. “We want our tertiary institutions to be a very safe environment for everyone, and this is a legislation that will ensure that wish.” Other forms of sexual harassment identified in the bill are grabbing, hugging, kissing, rubbing, stroking, touching, pinching the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student; or sending by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex-related objects to a student. It also covers whistling or winking at a student or screaming, exclaiming, joking or making sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique or stalking a student.

The motion for special court in the House of Reps, entitled “A Call on the Federal Government to immediately set up sex offender violation Special Court or make speedy trial of perpetrators of the offence”, was sponsored by Unyime Idem (PDP-Akwa-Ibom). While presenting his motion under the matter of urgent public importance, the lawmaker recalled that a few months ago, the country was ravaged by the deadly coronavirus, adding that while in the midst of waging the war, the country was being confronted with another pandemic -the pandemic of rape and gender violation.

He noted that the entire country suddenly started witnessing an unprecedented increase in numbers of rape and violation cases in the country.

“I confirmed that the Nigeria Police Force has reported a surging record between January 2020 and May 2020 of over 717 rape cases formally reported. That is an average of 143 cases per month and around five cases per day only on reported cases.
Rape is a gross violation of human rights – right to dignity, right to life, right to sexuality. “The public outrage on account of rape and other violent crimes against women and girls leading to the death of some of the victims had reached a horrifying and scary proportion in recent times.