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What are our lawmakers saying about rape?

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Sir: There’s one thing I have noticed about our lawmakers or let me say our politicians here in Nigeria — they’re only concerned about themselves. I recall when Nigerian senators fumed over the 2million Christmas allowance given to them by the leadership of the house. They went on to call it “a mere drop.”

Imagine, this was a period many households in Nigeria couldn’t afford to buy a chicken. That wasn’t the first time our lawmakers were speaking in one voice, they do whenever the issue at hand is all about them — their monthly allowance to be specific. It’s no longer news that the rapists in Nigeria are on the prowl. They had touched and still touching the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

In the month of June alone, more than 20 cases of rape were reported. These were just the reported cases. What about those who haven’t gone to report to the appropriate authorities? These are the people who believe that their rappers wouldn’t be brought to book and go scot-free because of our namby-pamby judicial system. These are the people who don’t want to face societal condemnation after reporting their rappers. 

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A few weeks ago, when a 100-level student of the University of Benin, Vera Omazuwa was raped and murdered, her rape and tragic death sparked reactions among the netizens. Our mainstream media published tons of articles from concerned Nigerians who wrote that the law that guides rape should be reviewed.

The life imprisonment as a punishment for rape should be emptied in a wastebin and that Nigeria lawmakers should peg a stiffer punishment. Rapists should be given a death sentence or castrated, a friend suggested. We had not stopped grieving over Vera Omazuwa’s death, then, another Bello Barakat 18, was raped and murdered in Ibadan. Also in Jigawa, a 12-year-old was gang-raped by twelve able-bodied rapists. I can be mentioning the reported cases on and on.

However, after several calls on our lawmakers by concerned Nigerians over the strutting rape cases, they later picked the call. What happened after? One honourable James Faleke stood up and recommend that any person found guilty of rape should be castrated. His position would later be countered. The debate continued and honourable Alhaji Ahmed Jaha gave a shallow reason for rape, which offended the sensibility of women. Women dressings expose them to rape? What about Barakat who didn’t dress indecently but was raped and murdered. His position didn’t go down well with many Nigerians as they almost tore in two with harsh commentaries. He would later apologize.

Since the last time the house sat over the increasing rape cases, there has not been any progressive conclusion on it. This is not a welcome idea for an issue that needs a fast decision. Didn’t the lawmakers know that these rapists are still on the prowl? This week alone, our mainstream media have reported nothing less than five rape cases. Instead of our lawmakers to sit and conclude on a punishment that will help reduce the rate at which our women are being preyed by these rapists, they were busy discussing why Nigeria should retaliate the high staff quarters of Nigerian High Commission that was demolished in Ghana. Shall we ask our lawmakers what they are saying about rape?

Aremu Lukman Umor, wrote from Lagos

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