A 57-year-old man, Kehinde Daramola, is currently cooling his heels in the prison custody at the behest of the Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Magistrates’ Court for allegedly raping his 16-year-old daughter to death! Very unusual and bizarre, but that is fast becoming the trend in this society among some twisted persons with warped and distorted views of reality. The escalating s3xual activities, and worse still those that border on abuse and incest at a trying time when the country is beset with myriads of challenges and the average Nigerian barely ekes out an existence, are rather confounding. For diverse motives, some adults have deliberately chosen to cross the line and it is unfortunate and ironic that many of them were otherwise in position, and indeed had an obligation, to take care of and even mentor their victims.
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This level of decadence and delinquency has become dangerously debilitating. The society would appear to be breeding s3xual perverts and anti-social elements at an intolerable rate and the victims of s3xual assault continue to increase by the day. The patently precipitous and perilous loss of values in the society may require new and greater attention in terms of resuscitation of the time-tested community sanction grid in addition to what the law has to offer. The law must take its course by all means but it obviously can operate side by side with the traditional mechanism for deterrence that has proved efficacious over time and even has the potential to reduce the frequency of the intervention of the law. Clearly, it will take some desperate but effective measures to rein in the prevalence of rape and paedophilic offences in the land.
The Ekiti rape case in particular presents a wacky and sorry situation as it allegedly involved incestuous violation of a minor which, sadly, culminated in culpable homicide. The fact that the alleged aggressor is one of the parents of the deceased victim makes the case rather unusual. Mothers are urged to be more watchful and concerned over their daughters and learn to raise a flag whenever a handshake begins to go beyond the elbow even if the suspected male adults have filial relationship with their daughters. There may be a need for Daramola to undergo psychiatric check-up to ascertain the stability or otherwise of his mind. The narrative around his case tends to suggest that he may not be in control of his mind.
Or how could a sensible father have carnal knowledge of his daughter and get her killed in the process? Such dastardly conduct is not symptomatic of a person with a stable mind. It is imperative to know about the family history of the man and to ascertain what is wrong with the family. The country needs to address family issues: not all challenges need financial solutions. Nonetheless, it is axiomatic that the protracted misery that engenders suffering and hopelessness tends to diminish the line between socially acceptable behaviours and acts that tend towards a distorted view of reality. It is crucial, therefore, that governance at all levels should be such that seeks and is seen to be seeking the welfare of the citizenry in all ramifications.
The legal and media handling of cases of rape and paedophilia can be better. In addition to putting social reorientation and moral rearmament in intense advocacy, media and legal treatment of this manner of offences should be more thorough. Today, it is customary for a reported case of rape to attract public outrage after copious media coverage but that is where it ends. There may be no update until another pervert is on the loose and the same ritual is repeated. The implication of this is that many members of the public, including would-be perverts, tend to assume that the culprit has been set free, which may not be correct. This creates a dangerous sense of impunity. Again, in some instances, the sanctions meted out to convicted rapists amount to a slap on the wrist.
To be sure, judges are seldom at fault. The fault often lies in prosecutors who out of ignorance and/or mischief choose to charge offenders under codes that cannot attract maximum punishment and thus may not effectively serve the purpose of deterrence. It is urged that Daramola’s case is thoroughly investigated and diligently prosecuted while the media should follow through with the litigation and give feedbacks to Nigerians. And should he be found guilty, it will serve the purposes of justice and deterrence if Daramola is served his just deserts for the egregious crime.