The Kadua state in North Western Nigeria saw a worrying spike in cases of rape, including that of minors, from the month of April when there was a nationwide lockdown due to Coronavirus pandemic. Now, in order to deter potential rapists from carrying out this ghastly act, the government of the province has introduced much stricter punishment for such crimes.
As per the new law, male rapists will have their penis surgically castrated in cases of rape against a victim above the age of 14 while one who commits this heinous crime against a person below the age of 14 will be liable for the death penalty. And it's not male criminals only that will suffer. Women who rape shall have their fallopian tubes removed as well.
The entire country witnessed a rise in incidents of rape. As a result, all states in the country declared an emergency situation. Kaduna is the first to go ahead and amend laws to deal with the crisis. The problem of such crimes committed against women has been a long-standing issue. But what lid the fuse of protest was the brutal rape of a 22-year old woman earlier this year.
Uwaila Omozuva was a member of the choir of her church as well as a student there. She was not just raped but killed and her body was found lying in her own blood in May. Protests across the country took place and call for governmental action was heard.
Nigeria's problems with sexual violence have deep roots. According to studies by UNICEF, one in four women experience sexual violation of some kind prior to the age of 18. As of now, the national law provides for a jail term ranging from 14 years to life-imprisonment. However, state governments have the authority to enact their own laws regarding punishment.
Governor of Kaduna Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai brought the act into effect by signing it on Thursday and stated that "drastic penalties are required to help further protect children from a serious crime."
However, not everyone is happy. Some of the progressives feel that stricter punishment is not the solution to the problem. The debate over whether castration should be the punishment for rape has been going on across the world. There is also a difference of opinion as to whether castration should be chemical or surgical. Kaduna has decided to go further than other areas of the world.