From Jibrin Miachi, Kaduna
Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State has thrown his weight behind the fight against the widely condemned rape in Nigeria.
Speaking on this national concerned issue, the Governor recommended drastic action against the culprits if the unhealthy development must be effectively tackled. Among the actions he recommended include vigorous law enforcement to prosecute rapists.
The governor who reiterated what the laws of Kaduna State provide, said rapists should get life imprisonment for the rape of minors and 21 years for the rape of adults just as he recommended El that male children should be taught to respect women from childhood.
El’Rufai made these recommendations as part of his contribution towards solving rape incidences in the country, at a webinar organised by the Movement Against Rape and Sexual Violence (MARS-V) on Saturday.
Speaking further, El Rufai listed fear of stigmatisation, the breakdown of judicial system and lack of quality investigation as some of the factors hindering the prosecution of cases of rape and Gender Based Violence in the country.
While calling for the training of victims and law enforcement officers on the preservation of evidence for successful prosecution of rape cases, the Governor pointed out that there are seemingly conspiracy of silence by traditional and religious leaders ’where society as a whole insists on covering up cases of rape.’’
Arguing that parents cover up rape cases for fear of stigma, he emphasized the need for mothers to sensitize their male children from childhood on the need to respect women.
‘’One of the primary challenges faced in the fight against gender based violence is the breakdown in the judicial process, which results in delay in justice being served and it could also be as a result of corruption, personal beliefs and laxity of some judges,.
“Most of those charged with the investigation of gender based violence are not well trained, and can be easily compromised through corruption, incompetence is therefore the primary problem’’, he argued.
The governor therefore advised that ‘’victims should be sensitized on the importance of keeping evidence, to ensure that perpetrators of such heinous acts are brought to justice’’ stressing
“rape is a criminal offence that needs to be proven beyond reasonable doubt but there is often no preservation of evidence after rape, either by the victims or by officials put in charge of investigating such cases.’’
To this end, he said Kaduna State has put measures in place to fight against rape and Gender Based Violence as it is ‘’one of the few states to have domesticated the Child Rights Act’’, pointing out that “Kaduna State enacted the Child Welfare and Protection Law in February 2018 after overcoming the challenges around the age of marriage.
‘’Under the state’s Child Welfare and Protection Law, girls are not allowed to get married until they complete their secondary school education, which in essence means marriages can’t happen until the age of 18,‘’.