Nigerians for urgent action as defilement cases rise

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Lagos.

Defilement has become a huge menace in the society, needing urgent attention of government and the citizenry.

Some religious, security and professional stakeholders have expressed concern over these increasing cases of defilement.

The stakeholders, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in separate interviews in Lagos that it was time urgent measures were taken to halt the trend.

NAN reports that Defilement under section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 is where a person has sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 18. The person commits a felony and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

NAN reports that in the past few months, there had been reported cases of defilement like the case of a 26-year-old man, Owolabi Olabisi, who allegedly defiled an eight-year-old girl in the Ojuelegba, Surulere area of Lagos State.

The minor was playing with her mates outside the house when the suspect lured her into his room and he forcefully defiled her.

Also, on March 29, the Police Command in Lagos, arrested a 27-year-old man for allegedly defiling his neighbour’s nine-month-old baby in the Ijora Badia area of the state.

The mother of the baby left her inside her room to buy something outside the compound, the suspect sneaked in, had sexual intercourse with the baby and immediately ran away from the scene.

Similarly, in July, a mechanic, identified simply as Ejike, was accused of defiling the eight-year-old daughter of his neighbour at his residence on Abule Oke Street, in the Ayobo area of Lagos State.

The girl’s mother said Ejike and his wife had relocated to an unknown location after the case was transferred to the gender unit of the command.

A legal practitioner, Mr Yemi Ojo, said that defilement was a disturbing issue that had continued to thrive unreported.

“Defilement is rampant and has become the order of the day,

According to him, defilement is sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 18, with or without the child’s consent.

He urged the courts to ensure that perpetrators were punished in accordance with Section 218 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code Act 2015, which prescribed life imprisonment for defilement.

“Judges and Magistrates should not shy away from sanctioning culprits in accordance to the stipulations of criminal laws, when perpetrators are punished, it will serve as deterrent to others,” he said.

Ojo said that the trauma the abused children experienced could affect them physically and psychologically for the rest of their lives.

According to him, victims or their parents rarely speak out nor report the incidences due to shame, stigma and fear of attack.

Ojo appealed to civil society organisations and other agencies to sensitise the public to the laws.

He called for training and retraining of judicial and police officers, to address the menace.

In the same vein, Pastor Peter Ayeni of Victory of God Mission, Ayobo-Ipaja, told NAN that defilement was on the increase because the society had gradually become uncultured and immoral.

He cautioned that until the scourge was properly addressed it would continue to rise, as perpetrators did not see people being punished for their actions.

“It is time to address the menace that is fast becoming an every day crime reported across the nation,” he said.

Ayeni advised parents to be more vigilant and devote greater time and attention to their children and wards.

He urged mothers not to settle defilement cases at home but seek legal redress, even if it were their husbands or relatives that were the culprits, to stop them and discourage others from committing the crime.

“Stop covering up rape cases, report them, so that the perpetrators can face the wrath of the law,” he said.

A primary school teacher, Mrs Tayo Ajayi, said that defilement was a disturbing trend that puts the lives of minors at risk.

“Sexual abuse can truncate the future of our children,” she stated.

Ajayi advised mothers to teach their children about sex, as it would enable them know their rights and enable them to raise alarm whenever they were about to be molested or experience any form of abuse.

According to her, there is need for stiffer and harsher punishment than what is in the Acts at present.

The Force Pubilc Relations Officer, ACP Muyiwa Adejobi, on his Twitter page @princemoye1 on Sept. 14 , said that ending defilement called for more concerted efforts by everyone.

“No to rape, it is barbaric and evil, let us all rise against rape and other unnatural offences.

“We can only have decency in our society if we move against decadence collectively.

“We need to curb the conspiracy of silence on cases like this, to save ourselves and many around us.

“Rape, defilement and unnatural offences are all condemned. Speak out, and be safe,” he said.

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