Senate Proposes Death Penalty For Child Rape …Says ‘We’re Waiting For Ministerial Nominees’

Child Rape

Worried by the incessant cases of child rape across the country, the Senate, yesterday, moved to frame laws that would make perpetrators face capital punishment.
Moving the motion on Order 42 and 52 of Senate Rules, Senator Rose Oko, representing Cross River North Senatorial District explained that victims of child rape have been on the increase, a situation she said was worrisome, urging the upper chamber to intervene.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise on Order 42 and 52 of Senate Rules to explain a very disturbing issue of child rape. Mr. President, I want to say that this matter is alarming and we need to deal with it”, Oko said.
Reacting, Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Oluremi Tinubu said those indulging in child abuse deserve death penalty.
Tinubu wondered what perpetrators stand to benefit from such heinous acts, adding that, “raping a child is synonymous to killing that child.
“Imagine a child who doesn’t know anything and was raped. If you ask the child victim to stand in law court, what would she tell the judge?”
Corroborating, Senator Sabi Abdulahi, representing Niger North, argued that the Senate must intervene by putting stiffer penalties for perpetrators.
Also speaking, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege stated that there were enough rape laws, stating that the challenges were those of enforcement and implementation.
According to him, court judges, perhaps, have too much discretion; saying that Senate should review these laws with a view geared towards tying their hands in a manner that they would be forced to pass judgement without deciding otherwise.
“Judges have too much discretion. Even governors too have prerogative of mercy where they visit prison yards and set inmates free.”
In his contribution, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial District, called for psychiatric test on perpetrators of child abuse.
The lawmaker added that the school curriculum should also capture sex education from elementary level to higher institutions.
Adopting the motion, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan upheld the prayers, as well as the review of all relevant laws that would ensure capital punishment for offenders of child abuse.
Part of the payers sustained too was the training of the police and other security agents handling rape cases, while they also urged the public to serve as watchdogs against rape.
However, the Senate, yesterday, said that it was prepared to receive the list of ministerial nominees from the Presidency any time it was submitted.
The upper chamber also said that the apparent delay in the submission of the ministerial list by President Muhammadu Buhari would not prevent senators from embarking on their scheduled annual vacation.
The National Assembly is scheduled to commence its annual vacation at the end of July, 2019.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, who addressed reporters in Abuja, yesterday, said that it was not the duty of the Senate to determine when the ministerial list would be submitted to it.
Adeyeye also said that the Senate was not constitutionally empowered to request for the list from the Presidency.
The Senate, he said, would wait until the president decides to send the list to it.
Adeyeye said: “That is the prerogative of the Executive. We are not going to help them to do their job. The Senate cannot generate the list of ministers on its own.
“It is the prerogative of the president to send his ministerial nominee list to the Senate and when he does that we will consider it.
“That is our constitutional mandate. It is not even within our powers to even advise. We will wait until the matter is transmitted to us.
“The executive are aware of the timetable of the Senate. There is a particular time the Senate will go on recess. That being in mind they should be mindful of when they will carry out this constitutional responsibility.
“That is our constitutional mandate but it is not within our power to even advise or anything, so we will wait until the list is submitted. I will not say anything more than that.
“I don’t think this matter should worry any Nigerian. We are supposed to receive the letter with the list of ministerial nominee transmitted to the Senate.
“If a thing is not my job, why should it worry me? When the list comes to us, Nigerians will look at the time the list arrives here and the time the list is approved.
“Let me tell you one thing, the executive are aware and most Nigerians are aware of the timetable of the Senate.
“There is a particular time of the year when the Senate will go on recess that being in mind, they should be mindful of when to carry out this constitutional responsibility because the Senate itself has its own timetable.
“Like the judiciary is right now on recess, a lot of judges have travelled out except those handling election matters.
“So, in the same way, there will be a time, very soon when the Senate will go in recess.
“I think the Executive are mindful of this to know the timetable of the Senate and it is left to them to adjust to that timetable or not.
“When the matter comes before us, we will look at it and carry out our constitutional responsibility.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the confirmation of the Senate for the appointment of Prof Habu Galadima as the substantive Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos.
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan read the letter from the President to his colleagues at the plenary, yesterday.
Buhari said his correspondence dated July 9, was backed by Section 8 (5) of the NIPSS Act, which empowers him to forward the name of nominees for the office to Senate for confirmation.
He appealed to the lawmakers to give necessary support that would ensure smooth screening and confirmation of Galadima.
The President noted that he attached a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae to the letter to further enable the Senate to have more information about him.
It would be recalled that Galadima was born in 1963 at Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
In a similar letter read by the President of the Senate, Buhari also requested the Senate to confirm the appointment of Mr Uba Maska as Executive Director of the National Communication Commission (NCC).