The Bewildering Rise of Pedophiles: A Call for Capital Punishment – By Wale Odunsi

Recently, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) proposed death sentence as retribution for anyone found guilty of corruption. The influential Northern group believes the country will be cleansed of the monster affecting growth and development, if the legislature passes its proposition into law.

However, this commentary is not about the ACF, but a beckon from this writer that just as in the instance of corruption, death penalty should also be enacted as the punishment for RAPE.

For the benefit of those who do not appreciate how grave this issue is, here is a definition of the rape: It is an act of forcing somebody into sex or the crime of using force somebody to have sexual intercourse. In other words, a non-consensual sexual activity between a male and female – or same sex, now that homosexuality has been imported.

I am sick to death and deeply pained by daily (sic) reports of rape of girls/women. When the country was a bit sane, we only hear of such news occasionally. But because we have a lazy law enforcement agency called the Nigeria Police, and a lackluster Judiciary and law courts, hundreds of culprits have gotten away with this demonic act.

A few hours before I wrote this piece, I stumbled on a story of how a thirty year old uncle violated his 14-month old niece somewhere in Jikwoyi, an Abuja suburb. The baby’s mother said: “On that fateful day, I left my baby with her uncle (the suspect) as I usually do when

I go to the market to get some things. I got back home, prepared our dinner and fed my baby. After feeding her, I decided to bath her. When I was washing her bottom she cried profusely. I was confused; I didn’t know why she was crying like that.”

“When my husband came back, I told him about it and we took her to the hospital where it was confirmed she has been raped. Since I know I leave her with her uncle anytime I am going out, I confronted my husband’s younger brother who denied at first. But when the family intervened, he confessed to the act.”

As bizarre as this is, we only read the news and then show tardy sympathy; it ends there. Yet, we have countless non-governmental organizations that only pocket grants/financial support; we have federal and state ministries of youths and social development that are only interested in sports and social functions; we have Directors of Public Prosecution who – for the most part of the time – swing into action only when they receive directive from “above”, which sometimes sounds like heaven.

Like we say in pidgin English, ‘which kind countri be dis sef’! What kind of nation on earth treats critical cases as dastardly  as rape with kid gloves; tell me what kind of government would sit and watch as able-bodied men go berserk and defile female youngsters? Of course this can only happen in third world countries – or developing countries since we like to deceive ourselves.

Come to think of it, what if I raped the daughter(s) of any of the following: the President or his deputy; National Assembly members; Judges; Service Chiefs; Ministers; Governors; Board Chairmen; Ambassadors; Directors-General of Parastatals; Commissioners; First class traditional rulers; Business magnates or any other prominent personality in the country? Would I be allowed to move about freely? Would “My Lords” adjourn my case a dozen times? Would it take many months/years before justice is dispensed? I think not, for I am as good as gone.

Take the episode of the late Cynthia Okosogu. Not a few watchers are of the opinion that the attention the incident attracted, coupled with the commitment of security agencies in prosecuting the matter was because Cynthia’s father, Frank Okosogu, was a retired Army General.

The proportion of our mediocrity is so gigantic that it scares the word. We leave things that matters and waste time on those that don’t. We set up one committee to monitor or study reports of another committee after a committee had earlier scrutinized the findings of that committee or another committee. I succeeded in confusing you right? It was calculated and to the same degree is how confusing my motherland could get.

It is unfortunate that we are at this level. Sometimes – and I say this often – I wonder if God in His wisdom decided to punish some of us by sending us down to Nigeria. Anything goes!

The seeming relaxed posture of the three arms of government on this issue is bothersome. I wish to add my voice to the call that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria be overhauled.

Presently, the punishments for certain crimes are simply (too)  lenient and this doesn’t depict a serious justice system.

In my piece in the aftermath of the killing of four University of Port Harcourt students (Aluu 4: Death Penalty or Nothing), I noted that: “Countries that have said NO to death sentence should prepare for more murder cases. Nigeria should not bow to pressure to replicate such decision I hope the accent and colour of our white friends will not intoxicate our leaders to making that blunder. If European countries feel a slap on the wrist is suffice for persons who see nothing wrong in deliberately taking other peoples’ lives (or violate others), they should go on and do so but let us be.”

Handling rape cases in a frivolous manner is a form of gender inequality which we all claim to preach against. If we have to execute people in order to achieve sanity, then we should begin to work towards that without delay.

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