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EDITORIAL

Tackling Increasing Sodomy, Incest In The Society

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Increasingly, the world is witnessing increasing levels of moral laxity with men and women indulging in various forms of sexual depravity, most of which breach both established laws and the natural order. The situation is worsened by the fact that, more often than not, children are the victims of such despicable sexual activities.

A case that readily comes to mind is the story of 13-year- old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, who died following her publicly reported ordeal in the hands of her guardian and his son identified as Andrew Ogbuja and Victor Inalegwu Ogbuja, who were alleged to have repeatedly raped her over a long while. Available reports revealed that the 13-year-old Ochanya had battled Vesico-vaginal Fistula (VVF) and other health complications at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi and finally died at the Ultimate Care Hospital, a private hospital in Otukpo, Benue State.

As Nigerians were trying to recover from the shock of her death, another news broke of a middle-aged man in Edo State who was arrested by the police for allegedly defiling and impregnating his 13-year-old daughter. The story which raised an outcry among Nigerians revealed that the father, Moses, who hails from Cross River State but resides in Edo State, had been having carnal knowledge of his daughter as far back as when the child was seven years old, a clear case of incest, child abuse and molestation.

It was also gathered that when the community members discovered that the girl was pregnant for her father, they informed the police and he was arrested. The minor, who is said to be five months pregnant, said the suspect had threatened to kill her if she exposed the affair. Following this was the story of six-year-old Imran, who featured on the February 4 edition of Brekete, a family talk show on Human Rights Radio/Television based in Abuja.  The boy’s mother, an oncologist with the National Hospital, Abuja, and his grandmother who confirmed the boy’s ordeal at the School for the Deaf, Kuje, Abuja, disclosed that he just spent one term after transferring from another school in Kaduna.

The six-year-old pupil who exposed sodomy and cannibalism at the Kuje College, recounted how he was forced to watch other children slaughtered and how the corpses were roasted and the flesh forcefully shoved down the victims’ throats.  It was further learnt that the boy was in need of surgery in his anus (as he could no longer control the movement of excreta) and an MRI scan because of the beating on his head. Curiously, in our view, it is becoming normal to open city pages of newspapers and reading all manner of sickening sexual offences which indicate that such oddities are on the rise.

An activist and executive director, Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu-Teru, recently lamented the growing cases of incest and sodomy. In his opinion, it is a pointer to government’s failure to safeguard Nigeria’s children and systemically end the impunity associated with sexual violence and child abuse in Nigeria.

“When children are born in Nigeria, apart from issuing them birth certificates, (and sometimes when they die  – death certificates); no one provides state oversight over them, or prescribes a minimum standard of care that caregivers must provide. Whether they go to school, are denied essential medicine, subjected to slavery, trafficked, or sexually violated, the state does not concern itself with these important obligations that Nigeria subscribed to by ratifying the Child’s Rights Act.

This newspaper is convinced that except perpetrators are made to face the consequences of their actions, sick men and women will continue to take advantage of young, defenceless children and other vulnerable persons. We are compelled to argue that perpetrators should be made to face serious psychological screening and, if found to be in control of their faculties, be made to face the full wrath of the law. Civil society organisations (CSOs) need to speak out against perpetrators and ensure swift justice for victims.

And since the offenders are mostly family members, friends or neighbours, parents and other members of the family and community should make it their duty to watch over children who might be exposed to such abuses and report to the appropriate authorities.  One way that can be helpful is to create a social welfare system to protect orphans and abused children and ensure that victims are better protected against such depraved humans in society.

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