Seven rapists have been jailed by various family courts for raping adult female and minor girls in Lagos State southwest Nigeria. In common they will spend 52 years in prison.
The family court in Apapa area of the Lagos metropolis sentenced Mr Amenaghaun Amo, 29 and Mr. Peter Agoen, 33, for seven and 14 years respectively for raping a woman.
While the family court in Ikeja, Lagos sentenced Mr. Raphael Adah, 35 and Mr. Lucky Odia, 21, for seven years apiece and Mr. Luke Onyeyekwe, 25, got two years imprisonment for defiling minors at different parts of the metropolis.
Also two men whose names were withheld were jailed by the family court in Ikorodu area for 10 and five years respectively, over cases of sexual exploitation.
The Office of Youth and Social Development, Lagos State provided the statistics of the rapists in jail, who were convicted in the last one year over child abuse.
Rape and child defilement cases have become common in Lagos, the nation’s foremost commercial hub, with men raping women and even sleeping with their children and impregnanting them.
It has been very difficult for courts to convict rapists as most families of victims want out of court settlement because of the shame and reproach associated with such incident.
Rampant cases of rape and child defilement forced the Lagos State Government to pass a law against child abuse and has declared war against rapists and child abusers.
Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Deputy Governor of Lagos, repeated that there is no escape for rapists as government would go after them and prosecute them.
"We have begun aggressive prosecution of offenders and perpetrators. There is no hiding place for rapists. Child traffickers from other states have no safe haven in Lagos. They are not safe at all and the long arms of the law will reach them.
In the last one year, we have recorded several cases of child abuse. For instance, we have 53 cases of child labour/trafficking; 13 cases of neglect, one teenage pregnancy, 48 sexual abuse cases, two cases of sale of baby, 37 physical abuse cases and 33 children in our custody."
She highlighted that traumatic cases of abuse victims were daily being published in the newspapers, with the most prevalent of them being rape and physical injuries.
"This means parents should be most enlightened, educated and alive to their responsibilities for proper care of their children. The effects of child abuse are in varying degrees. These include diminishing their self-esteem, which may lead to anti-social behaviours, emotional disturbance and psychological trauma.
We cannot also rule out victims committing suicide. The efforts of parents and guardians will considerably complement our efforts as government in this regard and that is why we always emphasized parents’ cooperation," she said.
Accordint to Orelope-Adefulire, the government has continued on daily basis to carry out advocacy and sensitization programmes at various locations, such as schools, motor parks, markets, mosques, and churches, among others on the need to protect the rights of children.
"In order to strengthen the legal framework and to prosecute offenders, the state created the family courts and also embarked on the training and retraining of judicial officers and relevant stakeholders such as the police in the area of prevention of child abuse," she stated.