The Federal Government has announced that it will take decisive action against rapists henceforth, describing the upsurge as embarrassing.
This is even as it has decided to push for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPPA), 2015 in states in order to ensure rapists face deserved punishments for their actions.
The VAPPA defines rape as when a person intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of his/her body or anything else without consent, or with incorrectly obtained consent. Consent can be incorrectly obtained where it is obtained: by force/threats/intimidation; by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, by the use of substances capable of taking away the will of that person; by a person impersonating a married woman’s husband in order to have sex.
The VAPPA law is only applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, it does not apply in other States of the Federation.
Child Rights Act (CRA), provides that sex with a child is rape, and anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child is liable to imprisonment for life upon conviction.
Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over President Muhammadu Buhari, took the decision following a memo presented by the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, following the outrage that has greeted high cases of rape and gender based violence in the country, as a result of lockdown necessitated by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Outrage had trailed the death of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, raped and killed in an empty church in Benin City.
18-year-old Barakat Bello, who was taking her bath, was raped and macheted to death in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Fourteen men in Jigawa State, were reported to have repeatedly raped a minor.
No fewer than 80 rape cases were recorded in various parts of Anambra State during the COVID-19 lockdown between April and May.