ADAM Farouk, an Islamic cleric who is obviously a charlatan, has bagged eight times life imprisonment for molesting and sexually violating eight pupils. The cleric was convicted and sentenced by an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Tuesday last week for defiling the pupils aged between six and 11 in his class. The victims were under the cleric’s watch to receive education, notably religious and moral teachings. However, the treacherous and perverted teacher did not only fail to impart the desired faith-based education and moral values in his students but also set an example that was diametrically opposed to decency and sanity. It was a clear case of criminal betrayal of trust. He was tasked with moral and religious education of his pupils but he chose to violate them sexually. The parents of the victims were hugely disappointed to find that someone they had trusted and hoped would help to shape the lives of their children morally and religiously actually turned around to defile them. It is, nonetheless, comforting that the culprit is already paying for his crime and treachery in a correctional centre in Lagos State where he is currently serving multiple life sentences.
There must be something mentally wrong with adults who engage in the aberrant behaviour of raping children or indeed in any other form of sexual assault. For instance, it is difficult to fathom the kind of sexual pleasure that a full-grown man hoped to derive from children of ages six to 11, assuming the pupils were even capable and actually consented to the abominable sexual act. This type of criminal and morally reprehensible act smacks of insanity. The instant case is particularly disturbing because a stakeholder who is saddled with the responsibility of leading others in the path of decency and moral rectitude was at the centre of egregious perversion. But truth be told, his is not the worst case that has been reported as there have been a preponderance of cases of sexual violence and abuse that were even of the incestuous variant. All of this goes to show the level of decadence and degeneration that has crept into the societal value system, wreaking havoc on the social fabric.
This sordid state of affairs is saddening and worrying as the population of responsible and trustworthy adults who can be relied upon to help young ones to form the right type of character and impart moral values that will increase their chances of growing up as responsible rather than damaged adults seems to be thinning out. Perhaps it should be mentioned that there are still scores of ‘Farouks’ in the system who do not have any qualms about criminally betraying parents’ trust and violating the innocence and integrity of children, subjecting them to sexual predation. The society ought to be alarmed at the level of depravity that people are descending into. It is a reflection of the loss of values and morality and the society must work to reinstitute a healthy and respectful attitude to values and morality. That is the only way it can assure itself of a functional future, given that a society without values and morality is bound to end in oblivion.
The Lagos State government, through the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary, must be doing something right as the rate of convictions of criminals who commit children and gender abuse offences in the state has been quite impressive lately. And we commend their strategy in this regard to the other sub-nationals. We do not know of any higher punishment that could have been imposed by the court for the animalistic behaviour in the instant case. We, therefore, salute the courage of Justice Abiola Soladoye in handing down the maximum sentence under the law to the brutish felon and we hope that the successful apprehending, prosecution, conviction and imposition of the far-reaching punishment will dissuade other would-be sexual predators and pedophiles from the criminal endeavour.
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