El-Rufai has passed a new rape law, but Nigerians are divided on the dicey issue of castrating rapists

Rape has become more a culture than a crime in Nigeria due to unwilling attitude to regard rape as it is. It is so deep-rooted that we fail to realise the trauma that comes with it. And studies have shown that rape can have a devastating effect on victims if not handled properly. Besides the physical injury it may leave on the victims, it also comes with psychological and emotional trauma they may or may never recover from depending on how the situation is managed.

The Kaduna Governor, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, Septemeber 11, 2020, signed the State’s Penal Code (Amendment) Law 2020 against rape.

It reads, “Under the amended law, the punishment for the rape of a person older than 14 years will include surgical castration or removal of fallopian tubes, but the death penalty shall not apply. In cases where the rape convict is also a child, the court shall order an appropriate punishment under the Children and Young Persons Law Cap 26, Laws of Kaduna State 1991.”

The new amendment provides more stringent punishments as stipulated above, while the previous law carried a maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a child.

This law has received applause but has divided Nigerians into those who argue that it is too severe – also considering false rape accusations and the irreversible nature of castration  – and those who think the law will keep rapists and potential rapists in check.

See what Nigerians are saying:

 

 

In light of all these arguments that seem valid, the new rape law by the Kaduna Government appears to be a double-edged sword that must be wielded with utmost care.

While fighting for the rights of rape victims, and instituting laws that will serve as a deterrent to potential rapists, it is equally important to protect the right of those who have been wrongfully accused of rape to ensure that the law does not work against the state.

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