One of the social crimes in the world today is rape. In Nigeria, what exactly is the situation? Are there laws that protect women
from rape? Are the laws being applied accordingly? CHIOMA IRUKE, a graduate of Mass Communication at the Abia State
University who did her Industrial Training with this medium asks.


Just like other developing countries,
Nigeria is not excluded from the list of
countries experiencing high rate of rape
considering the news making around the
town on the television, national dailies
and other social media reporting one
victim of rape case or the other.
In fact, in recent time the growth
rate of rape cases has tremendously
increased, leaving the young girls as well
as the older women into untold trauma
and insecurity. Sadly, this young girls
because of fear of being stigmatised most
often do not report the case for necessary
action by relevant bodies or agencies
such as NAPTIP and the Ministry of
Women Affairs.
Reports have it that there is a high
case of rape in schools including tertiary
institutions, within close relations,
social gatherings, and in religious
organisations. Sadly, those saddled
with the responsibility of protecting and
inculcating moral values in these young
women are now the perpetrators of this
Before now, rape cases or sexual assault
were rare news headlines. It’s quite
unfortunate that the reverse is the case
Defined by the Nigerian constitution,
rape is having unlawful carnal
knowledge of a woman or girl, without
her consent, or with her consent, that is
if the consent is obtained by force or by
means of threats or intimidation of any
kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of
false and fraudulent representation as
to the nature of the act, or, in the case of
a married woman, by personating her
According to a 2013 opinion poll
conducted by the NOI (Ngozi Okonjo
Iweala) poll, an average Nigerian knows
at least one individual who is a rape
victim. A study conducted by the staff of
Ibadan Polytechnic has also found that
on average, 1.7% of Nigerians (both male
and female aggressors) are rapists, with

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2.7% having attempted rape.
Also, an Edo hospital reported that it
handles 80% of rape cases every six months.
Going by this statistics one can then ask
what is the fate of the country and its
It also revealed that out of a sample of
295 female students from Ebonyi State
University Abakaliki in Southeast Nigeria,
36.7% had experienced sexual harassment/
victimization at least once on campus. Of
this, 32..4% had been raped (10.8% of the
However, rape has been ascribed to
various reasons which include: provocation
by the woman (especially through her
dressing), faulty upbringing, lack of moral
upbringing, offenders going unpunished,
drugs and alcohol, and many others.
Despite this reasons the question still
remains is rape excusable?
Unfortunately, much evidence has shown
that most of this rape cases have not been
reported due to shame or fear of being
stigmatized. Some of the cases reported to
the police have most time proved futile.
First of all the victims instead of being
given assistance by the police are instead
interrogated. Some questions asked by the
police include: what were you wearing at
the time of the incident? What time of the
day did the act occur? Were did it occur?
How many were they? Did you shout? Who
were you with? What’s your prove? The
victim after being traumatised is subjected
to more embarrassment by the police
Other times interrogation might not be the
case but the administration of justice. For
instance, during the 2015 Sallah celebration,
a 43 year old man was alleged to have raped
an 11 year old girl at Unguwar Bayi, Suleja
Niger state. The man was said to have lured
the young girl to his apartment to give her
money for the Sallah celebration. He was
then reported to the vigilante group by the
girl’s friend who became suspicious when
he took her into his room.
The suspect was then apprehended by
the police who saved him from the hands
of the angry mob. The vigilante witness
who spoke with newsmen complained of
a similar situation which took place a day
to the Sallah celebration. The issue was
that the police did not give feedback on the
situation after the arrest.
Despite the fact that most cases are not
reported due to stigmatization, the ones
reported are not properly handled. Often
the arrest is made but the propitiators are
not always brought to book.
Responding to the high rate of rape in
the country, many concerned Nigerians
said that the issue at hand needs an urgent
attention to salvage the negative effect
among women.
Speaking to this writer, Ms. Ngozi Okorie,
a student of Abia State University said,
“There seems to be a law on the surface

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that speaks against rape. At least, we
hear of these laws on television and see
women agencies on the internet which
seems to be fighting against sexual abuse
on women; but with the rate, one baffles
if they are actually working or only
appearing on television.” Although Miss
Ngozi admits the increase of rape cases
in the country, she believes it is still better
than that of India and South Africa.
In his own, Onoh Michael argued
that there are better laws in America
guarding against rape which are actually
implemented than in Nigeria or any
other country facing the same problem.
He also agreed with the opinion of
Ngozi that Nigeria’s case is better than
countries like the united state, India, and
South Africa.
“The United States is the highest in
North America, India is the highest
especially with gang rape in Asia and
South Africa within Africa. With these
I believe Nigeria is better, although
Government still needs to implement
tougher laws like death sentence in other
to curb these
“The punishment for rape under
358 of the Nigerian Criminal Code
is life imprisonment. An attempt to
commit rape is punishable by 14 years
imprisonment. With these laws in place,
the question is: how many of these rape
cases are actually being prosecuted and
deserving punishment served?” asked
Statistics by the Rape Abuse and Incest
National Network, RAINN, states that
out of 100 rape cases, 32 get reported, 7
arrested, 3 prosecuted, 2 given a felony
conviction, 2 spend jail them and the
others walk away freely.
It revealed that various cases of
popular rape cases in Nigeria include
ABSU gang rape, Queens College rape
case, UNILAG lecturer rapes admission
seeker. These cases caught the public
attention. Suspects were arrested but
at the end, the cases grew cold without
anyone being persecution.
The effects of rape on its victims
are numerous ranging from trauma,
stigmatization, unwanted pregnancies
and loss of self esteem. These effects
have led to various sexual assault
referral centres being established,
SARCs. Though this is a great initiative
it is limited to only Lagos, Kano and
Enugu states. This centre would provide
medical care counseling and justice.
Although public awareness campaign
on rape has also increased with its
objective being to educate and sensitize
the society on the nature, causes and
effects of violence against women and
young girls and the relevant steps
required to address this issue, but much
is still to be done to curb sexual assault.
Onoh expressed optimism that the
cries of rape victims would be heard and
in years to come this assaults would stop
or decline.

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