By Tunde Kolawole
When crimes of defilement by paedophiles and rape by promiscuous males turned rampant throughout Nigeria in 2008, I had the privilege to take part in a dialog on tv as to what was to be carried out to fight the egregious crimes.
On the time, if my reminiscence has not failed me, the punishment for defilement was life imprisonment whereas that for rape was imprisonment of between seven and 14 years.
I had on that programme prescribed castration as punishment for males who can’t handle their libido to the consternation of different panellists and viewers.
The advice was borne out of a defining skilled expertise whereas dealing with a rape case.
However do I nonetheless stand on this suggestion? The reply isn’t any. And I’ll clarify higher in the middle of this narrative.
First, the transient information of the case. The daddy of the sufferer and the offender have been manufacturing unit arms in a single firm in Ikeja. Each of them additionally lived in a single room residence someplace in Agege, Lagos.
The offender had been having carnal data of his good friend’s seven yr outdated daughter. Within the course of, the little lady dislocated a hip and likewise obtained contaminated with the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The offender was arrested, investigated and subsequently prosecuted within the Excessive Courtroom. As a result of negligence of the prosecutor, the offender escaped justice on technical grounds.
On successful the case, the questions that agitated the thoughts of the defence counsel have been: however this lady may have been my very own daughter?
Would one have wished that these types of issues occur to at least one’s personal daughter? Will the defendant not proceed in his wayward methods and infect another kids with AIDS having been simply let out? In brief, the defence counsel’s success in courtroom turned a pyrrhic victory and a profound ethical defeat.
In the middle of skilled duties, the lawyer has been paying very crucial consideration to defilement and rape instances.
And what he has noticed is that 70 per cent of folks that commit the crimes of defilement and rape are the extraordinarily wretched individuals within the society.
Additional observations have additionally revealed that culprits in defilement and rape instances fall into three broad classes.
Within the first class are to be discovered the wealthy and fashionable individuals like musicians, athletes and the upwardly cellular enterprise males, that younger women swarm round like bees would honey.
The ladies are drawn to success and wish to be a part of the success story in any respect prices. The place these types of males make overtures to the ladies and the ladies refuse, they rape them believing that there will probably be no penalties and the place there are penalties, their cash can get them out of hassle.
Very sadly, instances involving this class of individuals hardly get to courtroom because the culprits often buy their freedom on the police station.
For this class of individuals, the regulation ought to ordinarily take its rightful course. However the query is, if the regulation takes its course and such individuals are castrated or despatched to life imprisonment or executed, is the society higher served?
The reply isn’t any as a result of the society is poorer for it as the worth such individuals often add to the society all the time far outweigh the punishments to be dished out to them over an emotional infraction or lack of self-control.
The second class of individuals principally caught within the internet of rape and defilement are artisans, petty merchants, farmers, business drivers, native pastors and Islamic clerics.
These are very indigent people who find themselves residing on the fringes of life. They stay in slums and earn so little that once they have the urge for intercourse, they hardly can afford the little or no sums of cash to interact the companies of business intercourse employees.
They’re additionally so poor that; when their wives die or divorce them, they hardly can afford to marry one other girl of their alternative.
Consequently, you discover such males resorting to having intercourse with their very own daughters, neighbour’s infants and kids beneath their watch.
Of what use will castration, life imprisonment or the demise penalty serve to this class of individuals? No use in any respect. If you happen to kill them, the society will merely be terminating a life that had no which means within the first occasion.
If you happen to put them in life imprisonment, the society will probably be offering life time of free lodging and technique of sustenance beforehand denied.
If you happen to castrate them, chances are high that they’d commit suicide and the place they don’t commit suicide, they could turn out to be very vicious and harmful criminals dedicated to venting their anger on the society at massive.
And can society be proper and can it not be double jeopardy to go to these sorts of stern punishments on a citizen it had consigned to poverty?
The third class of culprits was created by the army. These are principally cultists, web fraudsters and get-rich-quick dudes, who ordinarily must be vibrant and alter brokers for the society economically, politically and socially.
When the army destroyed progressive scholar unionism and despatched out radical lecturers from the college campuses, this class of individuals emerged and stepped into the void that was created.
Most instances, this set, engages in rape and defilement as standing symbols and for ritual functions when excessive on medication.
Castration, demise and life imprisonment will more than likely have little or no which means or affect on this class of individuals as what may very well be of profit to them is rehabilitation.
Moreover, the demise sentence is changing into very unpopular and anachronistic all over the world courtesy of the rigorous, vigorous, strident and sustained campaigns mounted by Amnesty Worldwide.
The federal government can be all the time timid, scared and never disposed to signing the demise warrants of convicts when one is offered to them.
Castration can be an outdated, archaic and primitive mode of punishment that the world has outlived.
As to life imprisonment, hardly do those that bag it ever full it. Earlier than later; the authorities in a prerogative of mercy, would pardon them.
When prescribing punishment for a criminal offense; the society ought to concentrate to plenty of components which can embrace the sociology of the crime, the philosophy of regulation and the worth that the society wishes to protect and never essentially the mischief it needs to suppress.
The world, Nigeria included, is in an age of impunity, experiment and license. What was sacred yesterday is now not sacred right now.
Each female and male anatomy, in addition to intercourse, are actually freely marketed and offered on the web and social media.
Some consideration should be paid to the implications and multiplier results of this new discovered human freedom and the necessity for some stability within the general well being of the society.
As well as, very harsh punishments have the tendency to breed different crimes as we now start to see. To flee the cruel punishment of life imprisonment which defilement and rape now attracts, the culprits now kill their victims.
The query to weigh then is: between demise and residing with the trauma of being raped which can more than likely serve the perfect curiosity of the sufferer and the society? That is one germane concern the legislature should ponder over and focus its thoughts on.
Authorized historical past has equally proven that extreme or harsh punishments now not function deterrent to the fee of egregious crimes.
Presently, murder, kidnapping and armed theft are capital offences. The query is, in what methods has this deterred individuals from committing these crimes?
Will poverty alleviation, psychological remedy and rehabilitation, counselling and light-weight years of imprisonment, not higher deal with the challenges of rape and defilement in our society particularly if the fee of the crime has not occasioned the demise of the sufferer?
The selection is that of your complete society to make.
- Kolawole, Esq is a Lagos based mostly Authorized Practitioner and Public Affairs Analyst.