Nigeria it would appear is at a crossroad, it is almost impossible for one to escape the daily delivery of news regarding some sort of gender-based violence across the country. While Nigerians are still digesting gory details of a rape case in Lagos, another report would surface on social media regarding a similarly troubling incident in Kaduna.
It seems our cultural and moral standard has been severely damaged, recently, a man battered his wife in Lagos he proceeded to post pictures on Facebook, in this case, however, the domestic abuse unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice swung into action and got the offender arrested and prosecuted.
Recently, the tragic rape and subsequent murder of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 100 level student at the University of Benin took the centre stage, what made Vera’s case more disturbing was the fact that the dastardly act took place in a church, a place viewed as a safe haven by many, that such hateful violence could occur in the house of God shook the nation to its core.
Vera’s murder seems to have stimulated debate regarding the near viral issue of rape in the country. Recently, ActionAid Nigeria called on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on gender-based violence in Nigeria.
“As a community rooted organisation, we have documented cases on men violating their own daughters and we attest to the fact that this list is non-exhaustive as more cases are reported almost on a daily basis and we worry for the safety of Nigerian girls and women as even our grandmothers are not spared”, Ene Obi, Country Manager, ActionAid Nigeria said in a statement.
However, many have argued that the current laws regarding cases of rape in the country do not provide sufficient punishment for offenders, they argue that the best way to deter anyone from engagement in such distasteful practics was for the perpetrators to be aware that they could forfeit their lives in the process, hence, the call for the death penalty against rapists.
Others have argued in the opposite, they stated that further awareness and education is the way to go, in their view, the death penalty exists for such crimes as kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism but it has not deterred some elements in the society from indulging in such crimes.
What do you think, should the criminal laws in Nigeria be amended to include capital punishment for rapists or should the government invest more in sensitisation and education of the citizens regarding the evils of rape and other forms of domestic abuse? Let us have your reactions in the comment section.