Girl Child Defilement: Lawyers Advocate Severe Punishment
Mr Ogedi Ogu, a Lagos-based lawyer, has advocated for severe punishment for those who defile girls and parents who accept out-of-court settlement.
Ogu made the call on Friday while fielding questions from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He emphasised that attempts to effect an out-of-court settlement by families of a defiled girl with suspect’s family should be made an offence on its own.
He noted that defilement of under-age girls were on the increase; therefore all possible avenues to curb the menace should be exploited.
The legal practitioner said that any offender found guilty of the offence should face the appropriate punishment provided by law.
“Appropriate punishment should be given to offenders and the issue of attempt on settlement by family of the victim and the suspect should be made an offence on its own,” Ogu said.
He, however, urged victims’ families to speak out and avoid been intimidated by the society.
Mrs Helen Ibeji, the Coordinator of the Girl Child Foundation, an NGO, advised that certain cultural practices that encouraged molestation and defilement of the girl child be abolished.
She suggested that certain mechanism be put in place to monitor traditional practices inconsistent with the constitution and such traditions be declared null and void.
Ibeji also encouraged parents to make out time out of their busy schedules and monitor their children especially the girl child who is more vulnerable.
“Parents should ensure that their girls’ does not dress indecently. This exposes the girl child to the attack of sexual molestation. Many people will say dressing doesn’t matter, but it does matter,” she said.
Ibeji, however, urged government to provide transition centres where girls especially those defiled by their relatives could be rehabilitated.
“Victims should not live under one roof with the same man who violated them. A victim must be separated from the offender.
“At the transition centre victims will pick up their lives and start all over but not in the glaring eyes of their violators,’’ she said.
The coordinator also suggested that more workshops and seminars to sensitise people on the need to report such violations be done from time to time and such seminars be organised also in the rural environs.
Mr Chris Ayiyi, another Lagos-based lawyer, said though awareness on defilement of girls were created to curb the menace, new cases sprang up in court on daily basis.
He therefore advised couples to shun divorce and focus more on nation building by attending to the needs of their children.
He also said that parents were more in pursuit of their careers than knowing any need of their children.
Ayiyi therefore advised parents to keep extended relatives of opposite sex far away from their female children.
“If you don’t have privacy for immediate family do not invite relation that are male if you have female kids,” he said.
Ayiyi also said strict punishment as provided in the constitution should be given to offenders to deter others. (NAN)