Authorities in Kano State, northern Nigeria, have issued a warning about the rape of minors in the region. The alert was launched following the recent case of an eight-month-old baby allegedly raped by a man detained by the police.
According to the activists, the stigmatization of the victims remains a major obstacle to the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators. The recent incident of rape against an eight-month-old baby shocked many people in Kano, the most populous city in northern Nigeria. The victim is currently receiving treatment at the city hospital and her father told the BBC that he was traumatized by the incident. “I honestly cannot describe how I feel, because whenever I remember the incident, I am very upset … I am baffled every time I remember the condition in which I found her after the incident … I’m always afraid that something bad will happen to her … I want the guilty person to receive the most severe punishment to dissuade others, “said the victim’s father.
The spokesman of the Kano State Police Command Magaji Musa Majiya said that rape cases against minors and men had become a major challenge. In 2016, 547 cases of rape against adolescents were recorded. From January to May 2017, 133 cases have already been reported.
Me Ibrahim Makara, president of an organization fighting rape and violence, says that the fear of stigmatization is partly responsible for the failure to report rape. “Rape is increasing everywhere in Nigeria and minors are the victims in Kano, and most of the suspects are adults.” The suspects also include young people, middle-aged men and the elderly, some more than 70 years, “he testified.
The lack of medical facilities to analyze DNA evidence and the reluctance of victims to testify against suspects at trial are also challenges they face in their efforts to bring suspects to justice.
In Kano State, anyone arrested in a rape case receives a minimum of 14 years’ imprisonment or life imprisonment.