By Victor Otigbu
THERE is always a season for everything which includes time for sowing and reaping. And currently, Nigeria is in a season of different scandals. The Oduahgate, involving N255 million bullet proof cars; All Progressives Congress, APC, leadership and the G7 governors, including the disruption of the meeting of G7 governors on the purported order of Inspector General of Police; Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s rift with President Jonathan, Senate and the missing N500 billion SURE-P fund, retired Col. Nyiam resigning from the confab committee after an altercation with Comrade Governor Oshiomhole, the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, strike, kidnapping, crude oil theft, and so many other issues on the front burner of our social and political life occupy the front pages of our national dailies.
These have made people to forget a very fundamental issue on our hands which has devastated many families. The rising incidents of rape, can be regarded as the mother of all anomalies in Nigeria. A scandal too many to bear. All over the country, there is a new kind of unheralded harvest of rapes and rapists. And both come in dehumanising and embarrassing forms, thus bringing us to what a friend recently described as a whirlwind that does nobody any good.
Dispensation of justice
Recently, a pastor was reported to have raped another pastor’s wife. The victim’s husband, also a pastor in another church was said to have sent his wife to the rapist to help collect a bag. But the randy pastor was said to have tricked the woman and had his way with her. The case is still in court. Only God knows if anything will come out of it considering the reputation of our courts and dispensation of justice.
My friend of 20 years whom I know has no flare for reading, or buying of newspapers, actually amused me when he sauntered into my home last weekend grimacing with a black bag in tow.
The bag contained Vanguard newspapers of one whole week. On the opening pages 6&7, were these headlines: Boy, 15, rapes three kids, including 10-month-old baby (Mararaba, Nasarawa State); rival cultists rape woman, fling nine-month-old baby away (Somolu/Ketu, Lagos); 27-year-old man rapes mother (Ajebamidele, Ado-Ekiti).
There were other reports involving a school guard who raped a student (Ijegun, Lagos); 20-year-old boy raping a nine-year-old girl to death (Okuku-Yala LGA, Cross River State); a 50-year-old farmer raping and impregnating his teenage daughter (Ibeju Lekki, Lagos); gay pastor raping a teenage boy, 13, (Oyigbo, Rivers State). In addition, a 26-year-old trader, Samuel Nathaniel, recently bagged one-year jail term for sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl. The list is endless.
Rape a five-year-old, get one year in jail, this the court has demonstrated. The major reason rape cases are hardly reported is because people have lost faith with the judiciary which is often acclaimed as the last hope of the common man. No wonder our senators were seen sweating recently, at the floor of the Senate over the case of a policeman, who raped a two-year-old girl. This particular case unearths the rot in our judicial system.
This is a country where a rapist could also get life sentence according to the law, but more often than not, high profile offenders walk the streets free. No wonder Justice Ayo Salami, the retired president of the Court of Appeal cried blue murder, saying that he was treated like the Biblical Joseph.
Harvest of injustice even to the one time second most powerful member of the judiciary. That goes to explain why a policeman can rape a female detainee in custody and still go unpunished. I know that rape scourge is not prevalent in Nigeria alone. But the frequency of its occurrence is quite disheartening. As I hear somebody say that our situation cannot be described as bumper harvest yet, as in Democratic Republic of Congo, the so-called rape capital of the world.But they are in a state of war, while we are not in Nigeria.
Since nothing seems to be done about the spate of rape in our society, we are, with this inaction allowing another rape victim to die or remain traumatised for life with the family in perpetual pain and agony. This is a social malaise that we cannot allow to continue unabated. The question everywhere is: Why the rising incidence of rape?