President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has advocated for stiffer penalties for rape cases in Nigeria.
Lawan made the call in his concluding remarks on a motion considered on the floor of the senate, to condemn the increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl child in Nigeria.
The development was triggered by the death of a 22-year-old 100-level student of the University of Benin, Edo State, who was raped and killed by unknown persons while studying in an RCCG church in Benin city.
Her death raised concerns and stirred reactions from notable figures as well as Nigerians on social media.
However, the Senate President during his remarks said that having in place stiffer penalties in Nigeria’s criminal and penal code will serve as a deterrent to perpetrators involved in the act.
“We stand together to shoulder on this, and I think we need to make the penalties for rape stiffer to be sufficient deterrent for those who are involved in this, or who even desire to be involved. `
”We have to save our future, and these girls and women are the future of this nation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Sandy Onor, PDP senator representing Cross River Central had earlier moved a motion against the increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl child in Nigeria stating that on Tuesday, 26th May 2020, a 16-year-old girl, Miss Tina Ezekwe, was hit by a bullet when a trigger-happy policeman opened fire on a bus in Lagos.
Onor further stated that efforts to save Tina proved futile as she passed on two days later at a hospital.”
According to him, brutality and rape cases against the girl child in Nigeria are on the rise, with some of these cases reported and several others, admittedly unreported.
“our young girls may no longer have the confidence to live their normal lives.
“The average young girl in Nigeria is obviously becoming terrified and scared to live with and trust her close male relatives and neighbours.
” I am sure that most Nigerian girls and women might have experienced one form of verbal and physical abuse or assault in their lifetime.
”Also, the negative physical, psychological and emotional effects of rape and brutality on young girls might impact them for the rest of their lives with attendant consequences on their self-esteem and general productivity.
”I am equally certain that if proactive measures are not taken by relevant authorities to curb these dastardly acts and bring the culprits to justice, the cases of sexual assault and brutality will rise even further.
”This will be a hindrance to our growth as a nation and it is, therefore, our responsibility as leaders to rescue these young girls from the scourge of rape and brutality.”
Similarly, Senator Biodun Olujimi, PDP senator representing Ekiti South while lending her voice in support of the motion said, these are very ominous times for every child especially the girl child.
She said, “Mr President, if the authorities do not take serious action against rape, it would become a big scourge that will eat us down the line because the girls are being attacked psychologically, and that is not good for this nation.”
Reacting to the developments, the Senate in its resolutions called on the State Houses of Assembly to amend the penal and criminal code to make the penalties for rape and sexual assault stiffer so as to deter perpetrators.
The Upper Chamber also urged the Federal Government to stage a campaign against the increasing brutality and rape of the girl child, it called on the relevant security authorities to evolve proactive measures to checkmate the unfortunate occurrences.
It further condemned the killings of the young girls and called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.
The Senate President also called for a minute silence to be observed for Tina, Uwa, and all those who have lost their lives from brutality and rape.