The Lagos State Government has decried rising cases of rape in the state, saying 427 female children were defiled in the last one year.
The Attorney General, AG, and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye disclosed this on Thursday during the monthly press briefing of the Ministry of Justice at Alausa, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
The AG said there had been growing incidence of rape and defilement of minors, with 427 children raped in 2012 alone, while warning parents to be extremely vigilant to ensure that their children were prevented from being raped or defiled.
“During the period under review (January 2013), the Office of Public Defender, OPD, intervened in the pathetic case of an 11-year old girl who was allegedly defiled by a pastor. The pastor was alleged to have procured abortion for the girl three times in 2012.
“The OPD promptly got the pastor arrested and he has since been charged to court. The growing incidence of rape and defilement of minors justify the warning to parents,” he stated.
Ipaye added that there were many rape cases that had not been reported, stressing that “many parents usually keep quiet when their children are raped. These 427 cases are only those reported by their parents.
“Again, we have problem of evidence and unless the man in question is caught red-handed in the act, there will be no evidence to prove the case in court. We have taken lots of men to court and the OPD got judgment in six cases. The 427 rape cases give cause for alarm.”
On the road traffic law, the commissioner said it had continued to generate some controversies, particularly on the allegations that commercial motorcycles operating on roads outside the prohibited list were being arrested.
“What I found is that they still operate without crash helmets, riders’ card or proper plate numbers. Many of them still carry more than one passenger. All of these are contraventions of the law for which they can be arrested.
“We have recorded 60 percent reduction in crime as compared to the pre-traffic law era and no known death. There was also a 35.9 to 70 percent reduction in the number of vehicles apprehended from November to December. This shows increasing voluntary compliance among motorists for which we highly commend Lagosians,” he stated.
Ipaye disclosed that 207 convicted people were sent for community service last month for minor offences, stressing that the convicts could have increased the population of prisons and aggravated conditions, adding that able bodied beggars and street traders were included in this category.
“The Lagos State Government pioneered the introduction of community service as a sentencing option and having established the necessary structures, we gradually increased its use as a means of punishing minor offenders and deterring crime without locking them up in prison or disrupting their lives.
“We are now engaging with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation with a view to referring appropriate cases for vocational training after they must have completed their period of community service.”
This will further assist to encourage constructive engagement of our vibrant workforce and reduce the crime rate in our society,” he explained.