“My people, the entire Akwa Ibom people mandated me to let you(Goodluck Jonathan) know that 1.67 million votes await you as a Valentine's gift on the 14th of February. We need to know that my people are very close to God and God has revealed to all Nigerians both Muslims and Christians that this is a time for them to watch so that they would not go backwards, Nigeria would not go backwards. People (an apparent reference to Buhari) had the opportunity to rule this country,30,35 years ago. Show me what they did. By their fruits, you shall know them.
We don't want a government that only builds prison; we want a government that will build schools. As you(Jonathan) open the doors of school in Nigeria you have closed the doors of prison. You have built over 300 Almajiri schools in Northern Nigeria; you have built schools in the south for school children, you have established up to 12 brand new universities; never done by any president in Nigeria. You have proven to us that you read up to Ph.D level and that you know that education is the tool to development, education is the tool to fight insecurity, education is the tool to fight illiteracy, education is the tool to understanding governance, education is the tool to peace, education is the tool to develop Nigeria. That is why Nigeria is prepared for you. Don't be surprised if the votes Nigeria would give you from Sokoto to Borno to Ibadan all the way to Cross River through Akwa Ibom to Rivers State would double what they did for you in 2011.
Yesterday, Mr President, a leader of APC in a rally in Edo state while introducing their candidate(Buhari), he said ‘whether certificate or no certificate, you were once the head of state’. Mr President, there are certain offices that require certain qualifications. If you want to be a military man, to shoot gun, you don't need qualifications. If you want to be a civilian president, to discuss budget and plan for the future of your country, you need qualifications. Nobody can tell me that qualification does not matter, nobody can say so. When they were looking for a vice president, why didn't they come to Akwa Ibom and pick a palm wine tapper, why did they look for an educated man? Education matters. It is part of education that made it possible for them to convince our children and take them into insurgency. Let me tell you, in the midst of distraction, we will say you have done well. Power sector, you have done well, in the agric sector, you have done well, kilometers for road, you have done well. We are saying in area of human empowerment, you have done well; to other projects, you have done well. Mr President, Nigeria will move forward, we will support you, we will go with you. Nigerians will surprise you, Christians and Muslims, even those that believe in nothing, will vote for Goodluck Jonathan.”
Incessant Rape Cases In Bayelsa
Despite the stringent punishment attached to the offence of rape by the Nigerian constitution, the crime has remained a case in Bayelsa State. According to a recent report released by the International Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Bayelsa state chapter, over 50 cases of rape and defilement have been reported between January and July, 2018. The report also shows that over 200 similar cases were reported in the past three years in the state.
Amongst the cases are reports of fathers defiling their own children as well as a case of a paedophyte who had sex with two little children, the boy through his anus and the girl through normal penetration.
Currently, a former special adviser to the then governor of Bayelsa State on security during the previous administration, Chief Richard Perekeme Kpodo is equally facing trial for allegedly raping a lady who worked at his hotel in Yenagoa.
Section 357 of the criminal code states that "any person who has an unlawful, carnal knowledge of a woman or girl without her consent or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threat or intimidation of any kind, or by means of false or fraudulent misrepresentations as to the nature of the act, or in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called rape".
Section 31 of the Child Rights Act also states that no one shall have sexual intercourse with a person who is below the age of 14 years or of unsound mind with or without her consent. The law went on to state that whosoever commits the offence of rape or defilement shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
Rape is a menace that comes with dangerous consequences. One, it creates psychological trauma to its victims that may last through their lifetimes if not properly handled. It is more so when it involves parental incest. Victims of rape are often stigmatized by neighbourhoods and thereby subjected to inferiority complex.
Rape victims find it difficult to get married within their localities as they are turned objects of mockery. They also stand the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Untimely and unwanted pregnancies are also some of the consequences of rape. Furthermore, rape has rendered countless young ladies perpetually barren as a result of what medical scientists call Vecico-Vagina Vistula (VVF). According to medical experts, VVF is a hole that develops between the vagina and the bladder following a serious tear in the vagina, resulting in uncontrollable leaking of urine through the vagina.
Perpetrators of the crime stand the risk of ruining their lives if caught in the act. Some promising youths and family men are now wasting away in jail because of the offence of rape. Such youths who have been convicted for rape have utterly destroyed their whole future because they will never return to society. They will spend the rest of their lives in jail as the law provides. Family men who are convicted for rape or defilement have not only ruined their entire lives but also the future of their children.
Research has shown that most of the men who indulge in the obnoxious act of rape are often induced by drug abuse and excessive intake of alcohol. Influence of deviant peer groups is said to be one of the causes of rape in our society. Research also proves that modern technology has also contributed to the increasing rate of rape cases in Bayelsa state. The free access to pornographic materials by adults and teenagers as made easy by modern technology is worrisome.
Rape, therefore, should be seen by all and sundry as a monster that should be tackled headlong. The society must rise and condemn the sin of rape in its entirety. The Nigeria Bar Association should be alive to its responsibilities by ensuring speedy prosecution and trial of all rape cases in Bayelsa state irrespective of who is involved. The Bayelsa state Ministry of Justice should be commended in this direction for currently handling a rape case involving a high profile citizen of the state. The NBA and the Nigerian Police should frown at any attempt by families of rape victims and the culprits to settle out of court. It is criminal to do so.
In the same vein, the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ should sensitize and educate the public on the ills and dangers rape poses to both the victims and the culprits. Media practitioners should ensure that the whole world hears about everyone that rapes a women or defiles a minor. When this is done regularly, perpetrators of the heinous crime against humanity would be precluded from continuing in the act.
Also, relevant Non Governmental Organizations should step up advocacy programmes aimed at disabusing the minds of the youths from doing drugs. These sensitization programmes should be taken to all nooks and corners of the state. The Do Foundation, a relevant NGO in the state deserves commendation in this regard. Others should follow suit. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, should be up and doing in its effort to rid society of drug addicts and abusers. Residents should show patriotism as good citizens by promptly reporting rape cases around them to the police and other relevant bodies.
Importantly too, stigmatization of rape victims must stop forthwith. It is most preposterous to stigmatize or discriminate against rape victims because it is no fault of theirs to be raped. Rather, they should be shown an unconditional care and love. The state government should as a matter of urgent importance build protective homes across the state where rape victims, especially children would be handled by trained psychologists. Parents should be wary of who takes custody of their children and wards. Ladies should be decently dressed at all times so as not to attract men with rapist tendencies. Young girls should avoid staying too long in solitary confinements especially at nights. Above all, the rapist should know that the offence of rape is life imprisonment.