File photo of Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi
The Ekiti State Government has vowed to prosecute anyone preventing legal punishment for sex offenders and confiscate any facility used for the rape of minors in the state.
In a release signed by the State Attorney General, Wale Fapounda, the government raised the alarm that more than 120 cases of rape are being heard in various courts across the state with a larger number of victims unwilling to toe the legal path.
“The Ministry of Justice is presently prosecuting 121 cases of Rape in various courts across Ekiti State. This number is particularly disturbing considering that this statistic only relates to victims or their relatives who are willing to support the Ministry in the prosecution of these cases as the number of unwilling victims is even more alarming,” the statement noted.
Consequently, the state government is sponsoring a bill in the State House of Assembly to criminalize any attempt to wield unlawful influence to discontinue certain criminal matters including Rape, Sexual Assault and Child Defilement.
“The punishment prescribed is 5 years imprisonment on conviction. Persons in the habit of writing letters of discontinuance in rape matters are specifically invited to take note, the Attorney General warned.
In addition, the state government is proposing an amendment bill to ensure the protection of whistle-blowers in cases of sexual violence.
According to Fapounda, any hotel or facility found to have been used for the rape of minors would be confiscated and the Certificate of Occupancy revoked.
He stated, “Similarly private residences that are found to have been used for the rape of minors will also be subject to possible confiscation by the Government of Ekiti State. The Ministry of Justice is currently working on a legislative proposal that will allow Government to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy of such properties with a view to converting them to rehabilitation centers for ex-convicts.”
Meanwhile, the state Ministry of Justice said it is aware of a complaint of rape against security personnel attached to the convoy of the Wife of the Governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, promising to support police investigation in the matter.
The commissioner explained that the case is now being handled by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), FCT Command Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, noting that the “state government will cooperate fully with the police investigation team to ensure the matter is investigated thoroughly. The victim is receiving extensive psycho-social and legal support to cope with the trauma, and seek justice, and her identity is protected.”