Nigeria: Death Penalty For Rapists Mooted

Nigeria: Death Penalty For Rapists Mooted

Nigeria should consider imposing the death penalty on convicted rapists, the women's affairs minister has said.

Nigeria: Death Penalty For Rapists Mooted

Rape is said to a major problem in poor communities in Nigeria

Rape had reached an alarming level, with seven to 10 cases reported weekly in Nigeria, Zainab Maina said.

Poor communities are worst affected by rape and there are few successful prosecutions.

The death penalty exists in Nigeria for crimes such as murder, but it is rarely implemented.

Mrs Maina said her ministry was determined to tackle rape.

"It is also trying to make the police set up a gender desk in every police station to handle such cases so that serious punishment, perhaps death sentence would be handed to culprits," she said.

The main problem in socially conservative Nigeria is the stigma attached to rape. 

Many people are scared to disclose they have been raped, either because they will not be believed or because of the difficulty in proving cases.

In the few cases where there are convictions, rapists are fined or sentenced to a few months in prison.

In recent years there have also been some prosecutions of men accused of raping children from poor communities.

While Mrs Maina's attempt to focus on the problem will be welcomed by civil society groups, it is too early to say whether the rape laws will be overhauled.

 

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