Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has recommended a minimum of 25 years jail term for rapists in the state.
He said sexual abuse, particularly rape, should not be met with light sentences to serve as deterrents to other perpetrators.
Ambode, who spoke after leading a symbolic walk on Violence Against Women at Alausa, Ikeja, said it is time to walk the talk and ensure all hands are on deck for the war against domestic violence in the state.
“Rape should not be met with light sentencing; the minimum sentence of 25 years is highly recommended. We need new laws, which will respond adequately to the nature and occurrences of this era. Domestic violence is a crime and should be treated as such. The Protection Against Domestic Violence Law, 2007, should, therefore, be amended accordingly,” the governor said.
The governor, who said his administration would not rest on its oars until the menace is totally eradicated, added: ‘’A lot of progress has been made to protect the rights of women and the girl-child and in the war against the oppression of the female gender. However, there is still so much to be done.
“What we are tackling today is an almost innate culture which relegates women to the background and forces them to suffer in silence. In Lagos, we are waging a war against this culture and we will do everything within our power to transform ours to a culture of equality, respect and dignity for all. It is a journey of radical transformation, and our government is wholly committed to seeing it through.
“We are not just reactive in helping survivors, but, also, taking aggressive steps to prevent future occurrences. Our aim is to build a system of trust and accountability, where survivors are encouraged to speak out and potential perpetrators are discouraged to commit future acts,” Ambode said.
He commended the state judiciary for heeding the call to establish a Sexual Offences Court as well as lauded the House of Assembly for enacting the Protection Against Domestic Violence Law, 2007, the Child’s Right Law of Lagos State, 2015, and the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Ambode urged the Nigeria Police to strive to be more professional and ensure proper investigation of reported cases by grooming specialist officers, since they are mostly the first point of call for victims of sexual and domestic violence.
“As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is now. We firmly believe that the actions we take today will be the seeds sown for a brighter future for our women and, indeed, our children. We believe our state can continue to pioneer this agenda and become a benchmark not just in Nigeria, but globally,” he said.