In the face of increasing wave of sexual assaults and violence against women, government has been tasked on tougher legal punishment for offenders, to serve as deterrent.
Admitting that some states such as Lagos and Jigawa have however stipulated stronger punishment, they would want remaining states to adopt similar position on the issue to ensure stiffer penalties are metted out to rape offenders, especially those of minors.
National Programme Manager, Justice for All, Danladi Plang, made the suggestion at the close of Justice 4 All Project, which held last week in Abuja. Justice for All project was implemented by the Department for International Department, British Council in Nigeria. Plang, who equated rape with kidnap, further suggested that both offenses should attract equal punishment by law.
According to him, about 3000 cases of rape of minors were reported within two years in two states of the federation. "Rape is as bad as kidnap and as such, both should attract equal punishment. Within two states of the federation, about 3000 cases of rape were reported within the last two years, and these were only the few incidents that victims were willing to report.
"Many of the cases were not reported. Where we have problem is where it involves minors because the law does not call it rape. So, the punishment is less and it is a problem, but some states are increasing the punishment for rape of minors.
"Jigawa State for instance, has increased the punishment to life imprisonment just like Lagos State. It behooves on other states to look at the offense and decide on tougher measures to serve as deterrent", Plang stated.