A legal practitioner, Manzuma Issa, says lack of diligent prosecution of rape cases is responsible for the recent upsurge in the country. Issa, the immediate past Chairman of the Ilorin branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), told newsmen on Friday that the rising cases of rape exposed the ineffectiveness of security agencies in diligently prosecuting accused persons.
He also called for intensive advocacy and diligent prosecution to curb the incessant cases of rape. “I think I will suggest there should be intensive awareness and advocacy to sensitise on the dangers of rape and the consequences. “What we need is advocacy, proper prosecution of offenders because I know that some cases that are taken to recognisable institutions and authorities are settled.
“This encourages others to commit the offences. “We need to address the issue of social justice. We need to address issue of corruption. People will commit crimes and get away with it. “People have blamed the court of law, but the court acts on the materials put before it to deliver justice. ” So if there are insufficient materials, the judge, whatever may be the sentiment about the rampancy of a particular crime, cannot convict the defendant unless there is sufficient evidence before the court.
“The punishment for rape is 21 years imprisonment and I doubt if anybody has been convicted for offences of rape and incest in recent times,” he said.
On the burden of proof in such cases, the legal practitioner explained that the proof of commission of rape is not too stringent. “What the prosecution needs to prove is that there was a penetration and the victim never gave consent. It is as simple as that,” the lawyer said. He urged victims of rape and their families to always come out to report so that culprits could be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.