The Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), an NGO, has called for stringent punitive measures against rape to deter offenders.
Mrs Anisa Ari, Senior Programme Coordinator of WRAPA, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ari said that if sanctions were not stringent enough against rape offenders, deterrence could not be achieved.
“The level of impunity on rape in Nigeria is saddening, both old and young are not spared, and it is usually perpetrated by persons known to the victim.
“What is worse is the lack of swift response of the leaders in making sure the perpetrators of the crime receive justice.
” It is crucial that stringent punitive measures are put in place to deter potential perpetrators, and ensure accountability of offenders.
“If sanctions are not stringent enough to deter offenders, then it has no meaning, ” she said.
Ari advised that sanctions against rapists need to carry enough weight to underscore the seriousness of the offence.
“A situation where perpetrators are convicted to between six months to one year imprisonment, with the option to pay a fine of N20,000 is not stringent enough for the offence of rape.
“Sanctions have to carry enough weight, except the gravity of the crime is not properly perceived,” she said.
The programme coordinator said, “sexual offenders register” had been opened in Abuja to profile and document perpetrators of rape, and to be shared with key employers of labour and other stakeholders.
She called for adequate psychological care for victims of rape to enable them overcome the ordeal and live their normal lives again.
“A sexual offenders register has been developed, where offenders will be profiled and documented, and this will be shared with key employers, the embassies and other stakeholders in the FCT.
” This is important because it will name and shame rapists, while hoping that the laws that bring offenders to book are effectively enforced.
“There is also the need for psychosocial care for victims to live through and beyond their pain and trauma.
“Most of the times, victims are just left to deal with their own mental and psychological ordeal and this will have negative effect on their psyche,” she said.