Daily, newspapers and magazines are replete with horrible tales of rape. No gender is left  out but the regular victims include female teenagers, housewives, female children and even  female toddlers, not forgetting young boys who are sodomised for fetish reasons and  sometimes for pleasure by sick men.

The danger of this horrible scourge to the victims are multifarious.  The psychological and  physical effects of rape may sometimes remain with the victims for life.When such stories  appear in newspapers, the first reaction of readers is to ask why. Why would a man rape a  woman? Why would a man rape a toddler? Why would a group of men rape all the female they set  eyes upon?

War, as it happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the so-called rape capital of the  world, may be a good reason for these animals but are we in a state of war in Nigeria that  females now need to be wary of where they walk or parents of where their female children go?

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As recently as last week, 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 rapist was said to have tricked the woman and  had his way with her. The case is still in court.

Another report in the same publication, and on the same day, told the story of an  11-year-old girl who was raped by four men and infected with the dreaded HIV disease. While  one of them has been arrested, the three others are now at large, and doubt, infecting of  her victims.

Several cases have been charged to court but the rapists soon get back on the streets. We  believe the punishment for rape is too lenient in Nigeria. In the United States and Europe  on which our laws are modeled, the punishment for rape, if proven beyond reasonable doubt,  is a deterrent to would-be rapist hence such incidents are rather far and in-between.

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In February, 2009, Italy changed her punishment on rape to life imprisonment. Nigeria cannot  afford to be different. We cannot fold our hands and allow these animals destroy our wives  and children. The National Assembly should enact stringent laws to deal with the rape  scourge instead of their usual bickering like children at every sitting. Non-government  organisations too must put pressure on the Federal Government and lobby the National  Assembly to take another look at our laws of rape and other unacceptable sexual conducts.

Our children have a right to grow up in an atmosphere devoid of sexual miscreants. They  should be given a chance to grow up like most of us did. According to the Child Rights Law  in Nigeria (31(2) enacted by the federal government in May 2003, anyone convicted for rape  is liable to life imprisonment. But nobody seems to be enforcing the law. Thus women and  girls continue to be raped and molested.

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Most of the time rape cases in Nigeria go unreported because even the human right group,  Amnesty International acknowledges that the Nigerian government is failing to prosecute  police and soldiers who rape women and children with impunity.

African Director of Amnesty International, Kolawole Olaniyan says: The harsh reality list  that if you are a woman or a girl in Nigeria who has suffered the terrible experience of  being raped, your suffering is likely to be met with intimidation by the police,  indifference from the state and the knowledge that the perpetrator is unlikely to ever face  justice.”