Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, has said perpetrators of rape should face the full wrath of the law to serve as deterrent to others.
Kaigama, who made the call in his homily on Sunday in Abuja at Charles Lwanga Parish, Apo, also urged Nigerians to pray for the victims of sexual crimes.
He said while we call for prayers for victims of sexual crimes, we hope that the perpetrators of the crime would face the full wrath of the law.
“We hope they will be reformed and through our prayers, they will be delivered from the bad spirit that leads them to commit such horrible sexual crime.’’
Kaigama said the increased cases of rape was frightening as a tender three months old baby was said to have been raped in May.
The Archbishop said that the Inspector General of Police disclosed recently that the Police arrested 799 rape suspects between January and May, 2020.
“The rape culture is dehumanising, rape inflicts lifelong untold psychological trauma on the victims; rape is not only a grievous sinful act, but barbaric and a criminal act.
“The case of a student of the University of Benin, Uwaila Omozuwa, on the 27th of May, 2020, was reported murdered by unknown persons as well as other cases of rape and even gang rape is a symptom of unGodly and dysfunctional society.
“President Buhari in his democracy speech had expressed displeasure against rape and violence against women in the country, especially of the minors.
“Recently, Pope Francis was concerned about child abuse worldwide and on the 7th of May, 2019, he issued an Apostolic letter – ‘You are the light of the World’.
“In his letter, he acknowledged that the crime of sexual abuse offended our Lord, causes physical, psychological and spiritual demand to the victims and harm the community of the faithful,’’ he said.
Kaigama said the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja had formulated a policy for safeguarding minors and vulnerable persons, in compliance with the directives of the Pontiff.
He said the Archdiocese had inaugurated a committee in this regards.
According to him, rape and other forms of crimes are consequences of sins, urging Christians to shun such sinful acts.
“Today our readings introduce us to two realities we have to leave and struggle with, namely – the existence of sins and the destructive effect of sins.
“Romans Chapter five Verse 12 tells us that sins enters the world through the disobedience of one man – Adam and this has so weakened the spiritual and moral fibres of humanity.
“It has so weakened the spiritual and moral fibres of humanity in that the good, we want to do, we are unable to do it, except by the grace of God.
“Sin wounds the heart, the mind and the soul and destabilises our relationship with God and fellow human being, weaken our spiritual growth.
“The social malady we experience today – war, ethnic, political, religious and domestic violence and immorality in all ramification, are caused by sins.’’
The Archbishop said sins had also led to the broken world and had produced people with hardened and wicked hearts.
He said due the righteous act of one man – Jesus Christ and through His death on the Cross, Christians had the capacity and were called to help restore the sick world that had been lost to sin.
“Evil blinds us today, such that we call, what is bad good and what is good bad, we try to put off the light of truth because it exposes corruption, dishonesty, lust and many evils in the society.
“The remedy to evil is the fear of God, not the fear of men; to worship and honour God and to always tell the truth and shame the devil and to acknowledge Jesus Christ before others.
“Those who stand up for Christ, in spite of the troubles, are the ones that will be rewarded at the end of the time when Jesus acknowledges them before His father,’’ he said.