Nigerian state passes new law that allows castration of rapists

Women+hold+posters++advocating+against+rape.

Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Women hold posters advocating against rape.

Nigeria’s Kaduna State recently passed new laws that aim to lower the rate of rape by castrating and, in some cases, killing rapists. This comes after June’s spike in cases, which was three times the typical amount. 

Kaduna State’s Governor Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai approved the law, which states that men who have been found guilty of raping children under the age of 14 will be surgically castrated and executed.

Women who are found guilty of raping children under age 14 will have their fallopian tubes cut out and will be executed, The New York Times reported.

Those who have been convicted of rape of a person over 14 will also be castrated followed by life in prison, The Times reported.

This call for change that led to the state’s newest rape laws came after 22-year-old university student Uwavera Omozuwa was raped and bludgeoned to death in May, according to a BBC news report. 

A week after her rape and murder, protests broke out throughout the country, online petitions were signed and the hashtag #WeAreTired began trending on Twitter.

Rape and sexual assault has risen in Nigeria in the recent months due to the coronavirus lockdowns. According to The Telegraph, nearly 11,000 Nigerians signed petitions for the government to enact a national state of emergency over the issue. 

The alarming increases lead all 36 Kaduna State governors to declare a state of emergency on rape in June. This new law has also increased time limit in which rape cases must be tried before they cannot be heard in court, which was previously only two months, the BBC news reported.

Rape cases now have no time limitations in which they can be reported and investigated upon, The Guardian Nigeria reports.

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) reported that since 2015, almost 40 people were charged with rape out of a country of 200 million people in Nigeria.

Last December, Nigeria’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Pauline Tallen, said that 2 million women and girls were raped in the country each year, according to The New York Times. 

Women hold posters advocating against rape. (Courtesy of Wiki Commons)

“[The new law is] Required to help further protect children from a serious crime,” Rufai said about the new rape regulations.

One in four Nigerian girls are sexually abused before turning 18, according to UNICEF. 

Officials are aware and have acknowledged the rising rates. “We feel that the new law will go a long way to curbing rising cases of rapes in our state,” Kaduna state lawmaker Shehu Yunusa told the BBC.

In Nigeria, many victims of rape have not come forward in the past due to fear of being violently targeted for speaking out. Additionally, many Nigerian women do not trust the country’s judicial system, The Telegraph reports. Now many Nigerians are in favor of the laws and believe they will deter rapists from attacking; thus slowing the occurrence of sexual violence. 

In 2019, 34 rapes were convicted out of 409 reported cases in Nigeria, according to the country’s trafficking agency, which publishes the sex offenders registry, The Telegraph reports. This registry was launched for the first time that same year. 

Although many are in favor of the rulings, some people have opposed them. Evon Benson-Idahosa, Nigerian women’s rights activist, said that these laws do not address the root of sexual assaults and violence against women, which is a deep-seated patriarchal culture, The Telegraph reports.

“Patriarchal culture that discriminates against women and fosters practices such as child marriages,” Benson-Idahosa said in an interview with The Telegraph.