‘Why child defilement cases increase’
On Monday, a 48-year-old trader, who allegedly defiled two under-age daughters of his co-tenants, was charged before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos. The accused, Peter Nwake, who resides at No. 17, Olusegun Close, Oshodi, Lagos, is facing a two-count charge of child defilement.
According to the prosecutor, Inspector Simon Imhonwa, the accused allegedly took the advantage of the innocence and poor guardianship of the minors, while repeatedly abusing them.
In Abuja same day, two persons were remanded in prison custody on the orders of an Area Court for allegedly defiling two minors in Gbazango area of Kubwa, Abuja. Bala Isa and Omachi Joseph were charged under section 285 of the Penal Code.
The prosecutor, Abba Zurumi, told the court that one Rose Momoh, of Gbazango, on April 6, reported at the Kubwa Police Station that the accused lured two minors, aged 13 and 14 respectively, to a private place and offered them N500 and N150 respectively, and as a result of the deceit, had sexual intercourse with them.
Similarly, the same court on Monday further remanded in prison custody a 39-year-old man for allegedly defiling his ward in the same area. Chukwu Theophilus of Gbazango extension was charged according to Section 285 of the Penal Code.
The prosecutor, Abba Zurumi, told the court that one Ukekwe Favour, of Gbazango, on April 13, reported at the Kubwa police station that the accused, who claimed to be a guardian to the victim, lured and deceived her into having sexual intercourse with him.
Disturbed by the increasing cases of underage defilement, experts have identified reasons for the causes of recent increase in child abuse and have advised parents and guardians to expose their female wards early to sex education and to also report such cases.
The figure may be mind-boggling. According to the managing partner of Partnership for Justice, promoters of Mirabel Centre, Mrs. Itoro Eze-Anaba, there were 764 cases of rape clients, who came out to report to the centre in Lagos in the last two years, with 74.9 per cent of them minors. Sadly, only two convictions were recorded.
Eze-Anaba noted that perpetrators of the act were mostly not strangers but acquaintances and people known to victims. Other lessons from the centre, Eze-Anaba said, was that persons with disabilities are not only more vulnerable to rape, but could not easily report incidents of rape and that when clients are properly treated, they are better placed to move on with their lives.
In an interview with The Guardian on the recent spate of defilement, the coordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence team, Mrs. Titilola Vivoui-Adeniyi, said: “It is hard to say if it is the act that is on the increase or the reporting of cases of sexual abuse committed against minors. I think it is a case of the society no longer turning a blind eye anymore to sexual abuse, which is why perpetrators these days are not escaping justice. We have a lot of people calling our hotlines to report incidences.
“A child is anybody below the age of 18 and child abuse is any act performed on a child that is against the interest of the child; child abuse includes all forms of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse or neglect and can occur in a child’s home or outside the home.”
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