Nigeria’s legal luminary, Afe Babalola (SAN), on Wednesday, recommended an amendment to the laws relating to rape, such that rapists would not be imprisoned only, but castrated to serve as deterrent to others.
The 90-year-old elder statesman and founder of Afe Babalola University, in a statement by his media coordinator, Tunde Olofintila, in Ado Ekiti, also condemned the rising spate of rape cases, and called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on rape matters.
Justifying Babalola’s position, the statement said that the society was worried by the prevalence of rape, emphasising that castrating perpetrators of rape could not be said to be too much.
It asserted that such punishment had become necessary bearing in mind the physical, psychological and emotional pains rapists inflicted on their victims and families.
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The statement recalled the case of 22-year-old Vera Omozuwa, a 100 Level student of University of Benin, and that of 19-year-old Barakat Bello, a student of the Institute of Agriculture, Research and Training, Ibadan who were raped and murdered.
It noted that the society could not afford to fold its arms without drastic actions.
“The prevalence of rape cases is not only alarming, but worrisome. It is worrisome in the sense that it is inconceivable that a male could forcefully rape someone and goes further to kill her.
“Today, we have cases where fathers rape their daughters which, to me, is abnormal. We have young men raping young girls and killing them, why?
“Every concerned Nigerian is worried by the problem. You can imagine your daughter going to school and she is gang-raped. This is totally unacceptable and we should rise with one voice to fight the menace.
”In my days, when I was young, rape was unknown. There were no super rich people but there was no poverty. To me, poverty is one reasons why people rape.
“An unemployed person, who is also poor, will find it difficult to have a lady friend or wife and when he has desire and there is no means, he can be pushed to raping a lady,” the statement quoted Babalola as explaining.
It also blamed the frequent cases of rape and murder on use of hard drugs, stressing that anyone on drugs could not be presumed normal, which might have been responsible for some fathers raping their own children.
The statement frowned at some herbalists who would assure people that making use of women’s under wears or cutting parts of a lady’s genitals could make them rich.
It stressed that society would only recover from the scourge of rape through constant vigilance, observance of religious tenets of love, provision of employment and avoidance of drugs.