By Bashir Bello, Kano
Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, WRAPA has advocated for stiffer penalties against Sexual Gender based violence offenders by penciling down 14-years imprisonment or above up to life imprisonment to serve as deterrent to others in Kano State.
This was as it also advocated for compensation for the victims and damages to be determined by the court.
WRAPA Project Officer, Mohammad Maifada made this known during a sensitization programme for Civil Society Organizations and other relevant stakeholders on amended penal code supported by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, RoLAC to strengthening State Accountability and Community Action to address Gender Based Violences in Kano State.
Maifada said it has successfully amended some sections of the penal code and has already passed the first reading in the state house of Assembly hence the need to rally support of all critical stakeholders to ensure speedy passage.
According to him, “You are aware that the penal code is a very old law that we inherited from Independence.
“Because there is no stiffer penalty for offenders of sexual gender based violences, the cases of rape, other domestic violence and harmful traditional practices against women and girls are on the increase in Nigeria especially Kano.
“The old penal code does not clearly what is rape.
“We have successfully amended the sections of the penal code in Kano with support and help of other key stakeholders.
“Now, we have amended the penal code to include stiffer penalty of 14 years imprisonment or above up to life imprisonment.
“Similarly, we now amended the penal code to include compensation for victims. And also damages to be determined by the court.
“So what we are doing now is sensitization of the stakeholders on where we are to ensure critical pathway for the speedy passage and effective implementation in the state,” Maifada however stated.
Earlier, the Kano State Coordinator, Barrister Fatima Ahmad also said it succeeded in amending a section of the penal code by increasing the age of a rape victim to 18 years.
“The tremendous thing we did was to increase the age of a raped victim to 18years. In the principal law, a girl above 14years who is raped is not considered rape. We tried to include sections in the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act, VAPP as well.
“The sensitization programme was carried out in batches with 90 Investigative Police Officers, IPOs, 75 CSOs and media to increase awareness on the Kano state amended penal code and to ensure commitment on strategies to push for the smooth passage of the bill,” Bar. Ahmad however noted.