From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina
There is growing concern in Katsina state over the rising incidences of rape by unscrupulous elements, especially in Katsina town and environs.
Available records show that 83 cases of rape are currently before various high courts in the state, out of which 21 were recorded in Katsina metropolis alone from January this year.
Decrying the current state of the incidents, Katsina state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmad Dantsoho, described the situation as ‘canker worm’.
Shedding light on the amended law on rape in Katsina state, while speaking to newsmen on Monday, the commissioner noted that six out of 10 criminal cases handled by his ministry were on incidences of rape.
The commissioner stated that it was this concern that made the state government to amend the second leg of Section 283 of the Penal Code law that stipulates a light punishment for rapists which now provides a sentence of 14 years, fine of N50,000 and compensation for the victims.
He said: “It is disheartening that a girl of two years was raped. I was alarmed when I recently read in a paper in a state, not Katsina, a three-year old girl was raped by three grown-up men. We must act to make our daughters, sisters and mothers safe”.
Dantsoho expressed displeasure over the attitude of some parents of rape victims that withdrew from the prosecution for fear that their children and family names would be ridiculed in the process.
He revealed that in view of such circumstances, “Rape court proceedings would henceforth be conducted in the court chambers so as to guard the identity of the victim. Because if they fear doing it in an open court the victim would not be shielded by doing it were theiridentity would not be exposed”.
The commissioner lamented that sometimes after raping a victim, the lustful culprits kill such victim, reminding parents that “these victims were entitled to right to life and for the protection of their dignity without harassment”.