Woman's Own

June 11, 2020

Rape pandemic and a dormant constitution

Rape pandemic and a dormant constitution

On the 1st of June 2020, Nigerians were struck with the heart-wrenching news of a gruesomely murdered undergraduate, Uwaila Vera Omozuwa, a 100 level student of the University of Benin who was out reading in the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the Ikopba Hill area of Benin City, Edo State where she was raped and assaulted by unknown assailants.

The victim reportedly died at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital after sustaining severe injuries and deep cuts from her attackers who viciously maimed her with a fire extinguisher cylinder.

READ ALSO: Lagos court frees 15-yr-old girl accused of killing dad’s friend over rape

As usual, the streets of Twitter erupted with Nigerians and different civil rights groups displaying varying degrees of outrage and seeking justice for yet another girl-child who happened to be a victim of a failed system and a dormant constitution.

Looking back at Nigeria’s endless list of rape cases, one would understand why Section 357 of the Criminal Code Act and Section 282 of the Penal code of Nigeria’s constitution are categorically called dormant.

This dormancy, in fact, appears to always exonerate those who advocate child rape in the name of marriage and politicians who through their exalted positions resort to weaponizing rape to enforce ‘law and order’.

Just a day after the #JusticeForUwa protest trended on Twitter, Nigerians were forced to recall the damaging incidence between the Kogi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Abdulmumuni Danga, and a lady identified as Elizabeth.

The commissioner who was accused of kidnapping, brutalizing, and allegedly raping Elizabeth for calling him out on social media to assist his sister financially had walked about a free man after two months of perpetrating the crime.

These were the victim’s words in the quote, “On the 29th of March, I made a post about the commissioner. After making the post, they started attacking me on social media and he sent some guys to come and get me.

“On getting to me, they flogged me. He flogged me himself, stripped me naked and made a video of me threatening to post it when next I make any public comment about it”

“They also made me apologise that what I said about him was not true under duress. I had to do so because they were all over me.

READ ALSO: Muslim women take protest against rape to Osun Assembly

“He did not release me and took me to a hotel nearby. Over the night, he made advances and raped me.”

Although Mr. Danga is set to be charged to court in some three weeks’ time, Nigerians are more than convinced that the commissioner would stroll out of the court premises as comfortably as he walked in, knowing that the law is indeed a big joke.

Before us is a glaring example of a dysfunctional rule of law. If law enforcement agencies continue to stigmatize rape victims and evade cases and politicians continue to weaponize rape, then there’s is indeed no need for a law in the first place, and we must all prepare for a rape pandemic.