Reps propose capital punishment for kidnappers, rapists

The House of Representatives on Tuesday called for the introduction of capital punishment for perpetrators of kidnapping and rape across the country in order to serve as a deterrent.

The lawmakers who spoke passionately against the increase in social vices condemned in strong terms the recent killing of the 58-year-old Mrs. Olufunke Olakunrin, the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of the Pan-Yoruba Group, Afenifere.

The lawmakers who spoke during the debate on the motion titled: ‘Urgent need to investigate the killing of Mrs. Olufunke Olakunrin along Benin-Ore road’, sponsored by Hon. Omolafe Isaac Adedayo and 9 others, stressed the need for government to tackle unemployment at the rural areas and the need to improve security surveillance across the country.

The lawmakers who frowned at the disposition of Security Chiefs toward tackling various security challenges facing the country, leading to the death of millions of harmless citizens including women and children, harped on the need to mete out sanctions for heads of security agencies who fail to discharge his/her statutory functions.

The House also urged all security agencies in the country to partner and work out a modality best suitable for tackling insecurity in the country.

In his lead debate, Hon. Adedayo who expressed concern over the brutal killing of the 58 years old daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of the Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere on Friday 12th July, 2019 urged the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime to serve as a deterrent to others.

He observed that Mrs Olakunrin and others were heading to Lagos from Akure in the morning when gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked her vehicle shooting sporadically at them even when the driver had to quickly turn back to escape from the hoodlum but unknown to him there were some of them (gunmen) in the bush by the other side of the road.

“The House observes that there were five people inside the vehicle when the gunmen struck but sadly, she was hit by a bullet and when rushed to the hospital she died minutes after, although, others who were wounded were also rushed to the hospital and have since been discharged.

“The House is aware that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that we the people of Nigeria cannot continue to fold our arms and watch the perpetrators of the evil acts keep shedding the blood of innocent people across the land.

“The House is concerned about the security architecture of the country which is in need of urgent restricting in order to effectively tackle the rising cases of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and cattle rustling ravaging the country,” Hon. Adedayo noted.

Also at plenary, the House urged Nigerian Police authorities to establish Special Unit to address cases of rape with the view to tackle the scourge of rape and other sexual offences against children in Nigeria.

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The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Shina Abiola Peller, who decried the spate of gender-based violence, which has assumed serious dimensions globally and in Nigeria.

According to him, “the prevalence of rape cases is estimated at 80%, with the children and even babies not being spared the scourge, while the prevalence of incidents of rape among adolescent females is between 11 and 55%.

“The House also notes that the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has observed that one in four Nigerian girls must have experienced sexual violence before the age of eighteen.

“The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015 is considered a milestone as it strives to protect women and girls from all forms of violence, including sexual violence such as rape, sexual assault, physical, psychological and domestic violence and even to harmful traditional practices.

“The House is aware that one Idris Ebiloma was alleged to have raped a 4-year old child and is currently under trial for the said offence.

“The House further notes that Section 38(1) of the Act entitles victims to comprehensive legal, medical, psychological and social assistance to be provided either by the government or non-governmental organisations and further entitles victims to be informed of the assistance available and immediate access to such services, as well as to rehabilitation and the re-integration programmes available to them, at the expense of the state.

“The House is concerned that the provisions of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act are not being implemented as the required legal, medical, psychological and social assistance are still not being provided for the vast majority of victims of sexual offences in Nigeria.

“The House is also concerned that the absence of state-sponsored support, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for victims of sexual abuses hampers efforts towards the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, prevention and management of unwanted pregnancies, prevention of HIV infection through the provision of post-exposure prophylaxis and prevention of other diseases, such as Tetanus and Hepatitis B,” Hon. Peller observed.

To this end, the House urged the Federal Government to establish rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for victims of rape and other sexual offences in every State of the Federation.

The lawmakers also tasked Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to prepare a National Policy Framework to guide the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act that will provide further certainty to the law regarding the age at which a person can consent to sexual activity, just as they urged Federal and State Governments to maintain sexual offences registers in the states.

Similarly, the House called on the Attorney-General of the Federation to ensure that Idris Ebiloma who was alleged to have raped a 4 years old child is diligently prosecuted for the offence he is accused of committing.

While ruling, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over the session disclosed that the Committees on Justice and Police Affairs, when constituted will ensure compliance.

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