Some lawyers in Lagos on Tuesday urged state governments across the country to establish more special offences’ courts that would effectively address the incessant increase in the defilement of minors.
They also urged the governments to introduce confiscation of assets of offenders.
The lawyers in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that despite life imprisonment as punishment for offenders, sexual exploitation of children was still on the increase.
The lawyers advised that setting up special offences’ courts throughout the country would considerably improve speedy disposal of such cases just as the confiscation of assets would tremendously deter offenders.
Mr Daniel Idibia, a Lagos-based lawyer, told NAN that defilement cases were on the increase because the criminal procedure for trying offenders had suffered a lot of setbacks.
He said that parents should be encouraged to report such cases to human rights’ centres and non-governmental organisations when such offences occurred.
He, however, advised parents to pay more attention to their girl-child and create a bond between them so that they and theirv daughters would be free to discuss any issues affecting them.
” At present, several perpetrators are still sprawling the streets freely and committing the same heinous crime due to poor policing and investigation coupled with poor administration of the criminal justice system.
“Also, the questions asked by the police when such cases are reported do not encourage parents to report cases of defilement in our society.
“The most uninteresting aspect is that some defilement cases are not reported by parents due to societal norms thus leaving the victims with the traumatic effects,” Idibia said.
He, however, advised that there should be consistency in media reporting of such cases to deter other potential offenders.
“In as much as special child-offences’ courts should be established throughout Nigeria to enable speedy trial of offenders, stiffer penalties apart from life imprisonment like confiscation of assets of offenders should also be introduced,” Idibia said.
Another lawyer, Mr Chibuikem Opara, said that a policy of refusing bail to anybody standing trial for defilement should be put in place to deter would would-be offenders.
“It is not enough that life imprisonment is in the books. First, there should be a policy of refusing bail to anybody standing trial for such offences.
“The number of convicts must increase and there should be adequate publicised to deter intending defilers.
“Castration is inhuman but if every other thing fails, it may be considered. We can justify castration by stating that defilement is a crime against humanity,” Opara said.
He, however, advised parents to put more efforts in monitoring the movements of their underage boys and girls.
Also, Mr Chris Ayiyi, another Lagos-based lawyer, said that the high incidences of this heinous crime occurred mostly in areas with high congestion of accommodations.
He, therefore, urged the social welfare ministry to do more in visiting thickly populated areas and educate parents there on the likelihood and the consequences of such occurrences.
Ayiyi, however, advised government to “give back good governance to the society by developing more cities to decongest urban centres and create more jobs for her citizens.” (NAN)