The Chairman, House Committee on Human Rights, Hon. Beni Lar, said on Wednesday that rapists would face life imprisonment once the current Violence Against Persons Bill became law.
Lar, who made this known in an interview in Abuja, said the National Assembly had decided to expedite action on the passage of the bill, considering the increasing rate of rape cases in the country.
She pointed out that the bill would not only protect rape victims but equally provide protection for victims of violence including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices and discrimination.
“My only concern is that in our laws today, the punishment for rape is very light and that is why you find people committing rape against children, it’s unfortunate.
“ It is because of issues like this that it has come to the attention of the National Assembly that we have the Violence against Persons Bill.
“It is a bill that seeks to eliminate violence in private and public life, to prohibit all forms of violence including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices, discrimination against persons and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment for offenders.
“Part one of this bill, which has passed second reading in the House, defines a rapist as one who intentionally violates another person and the conviction for this offence is life imprisonment.
“The National Assembly is seeking to stiffen punishment for rape because the punishment has been so light. People feel they can do it easily and get away with it but once this bill is passed you would think twice before committing rape because they can go to jail for life.“
The chairman stressed that the law would not exempt couples caught in the act of rape, adding that women deserved their respect and right to life.
She called on friends and relatives of victims of domestic violence as well as victims themselves to break the culture of silence by reporting rape cases.