Are we going forward or backward in the fight against rape and sexual abuse? Is the Nigerian Justice system allowing pedophiles roam the streets? This news report published in the Daily Times on Monday 26th March, 2012 puts a big question mark on the Nigerian Justice system and it’s ability to protect its citizens from criminals.
It read thus:
“A Gwagwalada Upper Area Court, on Monday, sentenced a 26-year-old trader, Samuel Nathaniel, of Kuje, FCT, to one year’s imprisonment for raping a five-year-old girl.
The judge, Babangida Hassan, however, gave him an option of a fine of N40,000. The police prosecutor, Samuel Ochefu, told the court that Nathaniel raped the girl in his shop at Kuje Market. Ochefu said that in the process, the girl sustained serious injuries in her private part and was taken to Kuje General Hospital where she was treated at a cost of N153, 200; adding that the money had been refunded to the victim’s family by the relations of the convict.
Nathaniel pleaded guilty and prayed for forgiveness.
But the judge said there was no reason why Nathaniel should not be convicted and sentenced. He ordered that the convict should leave the vicinity where the incident occurred within the period of three months and should also sign an undertaken to that effect.”
It’s quite sad to see that despite the repeated outcry against rape and sexual abuse of minors in the country, a man can get away with raping a five year-old girl! What is a fine of N40, 000 or a one-year jail sentence compared to the agony and permanent scar this man has made on the life of an innocent child? A 26 year-old man took a five year-old girl to his shop and raped her till the extent that she sustained serious injuries on her private part and a judge lets him walk!
There are two reasons that stand out in this report on why this man should never be allowed out of a prison. 1. He pleaded guilty to the charge meaning he knew what he did was totally wrong and despite the consequences, went ahead to inflict such wickedness on the young girl. 2. The victim in this case was a minor; a young girl who couldn’t defend herself, who had no idea of the kind of injury this man was inflicting on her and who must have gone through serious pain in the process.
If he did this to this young girl, what are the chances that he wouldn’t do it again in when he gets to another ‘vicinity’ according to the judge’s order? I thought the justice system was supposed to protect innocent victims and not to recycle criminals back into the society.
Would this young girl ever forget this experience? If the physical scars heal, would the emotional scars ever fade?
For her and her family, I pray for healing and comfort. And for the ‘justice’ system that allowed this man walk, this is a wake-up call. There should be better ways to protect innocent children in Nigeria!
News Source: Daily Times