assessment OF THE RAPE OFFENCE UNDER NIGERIAN LAW
ASSESSMENT OF THE RAPE OFFENCE UNDER NIGERIAN LAW
The purpose of this research was to evaluate the rape offence under Nigerian law. This study used a doctrinal approach. Rape is a devastating crime that affects victims all around the world. The victims have been physically, psychologically, and emotionally traumatised.
Rape trauma leaves victims with scars for the rest of their lives, making it impossible for them to relate to other people including persons of the opposite sex.
The work examined the evolutionary psychological perspective on why people rape, and with the legalisation and acceptance of same-sex relationships and marriage in some jurisdictions around the world, it is clear that a man can rape another man, a woman can rape another woman, and a woman can rape another woman.
Other industrialised countries have regularly revised their rape laws; nevertheless, under Nigeria's criminal justice system, the legislative framework on the crime of rape requires urgent and essential changes, both substantively and procedurally, as discussed in this paper.
The Nigerian Criminal and Penal Code should be compared to comparable provisions from across the world and examined so that any ambiguity in our laws is plain and straightforward, as in other foreign countries.
It is suggested that the notion of rape, particularly in terms of prosecution, be quickly reconsidered and revised in order to secure justice for victims and meet evolving rape patterns in Nigeria.
This work concludes that unless rape laws are reformed, victims' rights to justice will continue to be violated owing to gaps in the law, while perpetrators of this horrible crime will continue to live above justice and perpetrate additional rapes.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Rape has long been a part of human history. However, the rate of rape in Nigeria has recently climbed. The first rape laws were designed to protect virgins against rape, abduction, and forced marriage. It was also the intention of the law makers to protect a father's interest in his daughter's virginity or a husband's interest in his wife's fidelity.
The laws were made to protect women, mostly virgins and wives, and this shaped the common law definition of rape that is still used in some jurisdictions such as Nigeria.
However, the crime of rape is evolving; it is clear in recent years that men are also victims of rape and should be protected by the law.
There are also other emerging sexual practises that a person seeking to have a forceful sexual connection with another can utilise, such as the penetration of the penis into the anus or the mouth, or the penetration of any other part of the body into the vagina. Many countries have updated their rape laws as a result of this.
Many Nigerian women who have been raped suffer in silence, failing to report the incident to law enforcement agencies.
The culture of silence exacerbates this problem, partly due to police humiliation and intimidation of victims, as well as the embarrassment of public acknowledgement and the rigour in proving rape. Furthermore, being shunned by those who regard rape as bringing dishonour to the woman's family and community exacerbates the situation.
As a result, many rape victims are unwilling and terrified to testify about their experience, and the rapist moves on to the next victim.
Rape is not a pandemic in Nigeria; between 2001 and 2005, 10,079 rape cases were registered. According to the same survey, only 18% of rape cases in Nigeria are reported.
Culturally, it is an offence on par with murder since a suspect suspected of rape is expected to go into hiding while his people work to remove the humiliation from the face of the rape victim's family. Despite this, rape appears to be on the rise in Nigeria, and the question on everyone's lips is what is causing it.
Is this because the punishment prescribed for rape in existing laws is no longer severe enough to dissuade would-be rapists, or are there other elements that presumably offer more incentives for rape than the risk of punishment?
Furthermore, in most African civilizations, women have always been viewed as the weaker vessel, and hence have been dominated and oppressed by culture. Rape, domestic violence, and other forms of sexual abuse have taken on serious dimensions around the world.
Rape is a type of sexual assault that usually involves sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person's consent.
The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious.
Rape, one of the oldest crimes in human history, has caused a lot of grief and agony to individual rights with different jurisdictions specifying out the punishment if somebody is found guilty of same. However, rape has continued to occur with little sign of abating and is on the rise in practically every corner of the world.
This act, which was once widely assumed to be the outcome of lust, does not appear to be the case any longer. Rape victims, on the other hand, have no age limit as babies, and the elderly are particularly prone to this scourge. Surprisingly, 90% of rape victims are female.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As early as 2011, human rights lawyer Caroline Ajie estimated that approximately 2 million Nigerian girls are sexually abused each year.
This estimate was confirmed by the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD), Dame Pauline Tallen, at the 2019 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
These coupled with the most recent report of the rape of an 18-year-old Miss Barakat Bello in her home at Ibadan, the case of 11 men raping a 12-year-old girl in Kaduna, and also the rape of Miss Uwa Omoziwa a 22-year-old student of the University of benin (UNIBEN) at a Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Edo province in Benin,
clearly shows how rampant rape is in our Country Nigeria. This article tries to forensically investigate the crime of rape in Nigeria, the flaws in Nigerian criminal law on the subject of rape, and realistic and lasting alternatives that would aid in slowing the country's rapid surge in rape.
Rape is quickly adopting a dangerous dimension in Nigeria, necessitating immediate response given the rising rate. Rape, like other types of violence against women, violates women's rights to privacy, self-preservation, and dignity.
Rape has become a significant social problem of pandemic proportions, according to data available in print and electronic media, and is no more an isolated criminal crime impacting only a few women in society. Rape has recently escalated at an alarming rate in Africa, including Nigeria, resulting in the deaths of many women.
There is little or no policy or regulation that protects victims because they are frequently vilified, stigmatised, and humiliated by the public if their case is made public.
This prevents victims from adopting the mindset of reporting such heinous crimes to the relevant authorities.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary goal of the research is to explore the legal definition of rape in Nigeria. The following are the study's particular objectives:
To investigate the causes of the rise in rape in Nigeria.
To evaluate rape penalty.
To investigate methods for reducing rape.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
To investigate the causes of the rise in rape in Nigeria.
To evaluate rape penalty.
To investigate methods for reducing rape.
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The approach used in this study is doctrinal. That is, both primary and secondary sources, such as examination of statutes, case laws, legal reports, and textbooks by renowned experts, will be used.
Other library materials, such as journals and newspapers, have been mentioned. Of course, the internet was used to research current trends in crime detection and prevention. Encyclopaedias, thesaurus, and police diaries have all been mentioned.
1.6SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This survey comes at a time when women in Nigeria are unsatisfied and demotivated as rape activity appears to be on the rise. The study's findings will thus be useful in curbing rape excesses and promoting gender equality.
The research will produce policy recommendations that will guide and inform proper rape management efforts in Nigeria.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study examines the breadth of rape legislation in Nigeria, as well as the evolving evolution of rape laws in other countries in terms of the definition of rape, proof of rape, capacity to commit rape, consent, and victims of rape.
The study also gave recommendations on how to improve Nigeria's rape punitive statutes.
This study was expected to have the following limitations:
Because the study was only conducted in one area, the findings may not be applicable to the entire country. Without the assistance of research assistants, the researcher collected data on his own.
The current study also anticipated financial restrictions. The researcher did not have adequate finances to carry out this investigation.
1.9 LITERATURE REVIEW
Certain elements must be proven by the prosecution in order to prove rape under the law. The Supreme Court ruled in Ndewenu Posu &anor The State
that in the case of rape or unlawful carnal knowledge of a female without her agreement, the prosecution must establish the following.
The accused had sexual relations with the prosecutrix.
That the sexual intercourse occurred without her consent or that consent was obtained through fraud, force, coercion, intimidation, deception, or impersonation.
That the prosecutrix was not the accused's wife
That the accused possessed the mensrea, the purpose to have sexual intercourse with the prosecutrix without her consent, or that the accused acted recklessly without regard for whether or not the prosecutrix consented.
There was some penetration.
In Okoyomon v. State, the accused threw the plaintiff down, removed her pants and his shorts, and began having carnal knowledge of her. The woman yelled for assistance, but the accused covered her lips with a handkerchief. He positioned himself on her and put his penis inside her vagina.
The accused was charged with unlawful carnal knowledge with a minor without her consent. On appeal, the Supreme Court reviewed all of the material and concluded that there was no proof of penetration.
In The Queen v AnofiSeidu,
the accused was charged with defilement of a girl under the age of eleven years. The youngster was discovered sitting on the accused's laps, wiping her thigh with a handkerchief. The accused recognised the cloth as his, and it was discovered to contain human sperm.
Human sperm was discovered instead of blood when the girl's private parts were examined. The doctor who examined her couldn't tell if the hymen ruptured recently. The accused was found guilty of indecent assault but not rape by the court.
The presence of sperm in the victim's vagina does not imply vaginal penetration; there must be evidence of actual penetration. In Ibo v Zaria Native Authority,
the high court refused to accept the evidence as sufficient for the accused vaginal penetration since the doctor who examined the girl did not properly explain which section of the girl's private part was ruptured.
Sexual intercourse will occur against the female's will in situations where the victim is in such a state that she cannot say no or yes, such as when the victim is under the influence of a narcotic.
This is a situation in which the victim is placed in such a state that she is unable to express her will. In R v Camplin,
when the accused made the victim inebriated and then assaulted her while she was unconscious, it was determined that rape was done without her consent and against her will.
In this circumstance, the victim is placed in a position where she cannot genuinely express her will. In practise, this is a more difficult case to show because the victim is not in a position to object.
The phrase “without her consent” is used when the victim did not expressly or implicitly provide her consent. In R v Young,
the accused crept into the victim's bed while she was sleeping with her two children and husband and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her while she was sleeping. When she awoke, she evidently thought it was her husband and did not resist, but when she heard the accusing voice, she tossed him off and phoned her husband.
The culprit fled, but was apprehended by a police officer. The accused was found guilty of rape. In R v Mayers,
Lush J ruled that if a man has or seeks to have sexual contact with a woman while she is sleeping, the fact that she did not resist is no defence. Consent provided out of exhaustion after a long period of effort and resistance appears to be invalid. The violation of s. The violation of Section 1(1)
of the VAPP Act is punished by life imprisonment. This, however, is not an obligatory penalty. This is based on s. paragraphs (a)-(c). 1(2),
which allows the judge to impose punishments less than life imprisonment. If the perpetrator is under the age of 14, he may be punished to a maximum of 14 years in jail.
Offenders aged 14 and up face a minimum sentence of 12 years in jail. In the case of gang rape, the criminals face a minimum of 20 years in jail jointly and severally.
There is no doubt that the VAPP Act has broadened Nigerian criminal law on rape. It pioneered the concept of oral rape by the penis, as well as nonconsensual penetration of the vagina, anus, and mouth by any other portion of a person's body or object.
Furthermore, the Act provides harsher rape penalties than the previous Criminal Code Act and Penal Code Act. Except in situations involving children under the age of 14, the minimum term for rape under the VAPP Act is 12 years in prison.
Although the punishment for rape is life imprisonment under the Criminal Code Act, the courts have not construed this to indicate an obligatory term. In Popoola v. State,
the appellant was accused under Section 358 of the Criminal Code Law, Laws of Ogun State 1978, which is similar to Section 358 of the Criminal Code Law, Laws of Ogun State 1978. Act No. 358 of the Criminal Code. The appellant was accused of raping a student at Abeokuta Grammar School in Ogun State.
He was sentenced to 5 years in prison, which was upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. In Iko v. The State, the appellant received a seven-year prison sentence for raping a schoolgirl. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the judgement due to a lack of corroboration.
The prosecution must prove that there was penetration in all rape cases. The Supreme Court has ruled that penetration is the most significant component of the rape offence, and any amount of penetration is sufficient. It is not essential to prove that there was a hymen rupture or injury in order to commit rape.
Corroboration is another key component of rape. Corroboration is not a legal requirement, but rather a rule of thumb. It is, nevertheless, frequently essential. In Iko v. State,
Kalgo JSC agreed with Lord Reading's definition of corroboration in R v. Basker Ville
: “…evidence in corroboration must be independent testimony which affects the accused by connecting or tending to connect him with the crime.” In other words, it must be evidence that implicates the accused and confirms not only the commission of the crime but also that the accused committed it.
Lord Diplock recognised the hazard that the rule on corroboration is designed to avoid in D.P.P v. Hester.
His Lordship believes there is a chance that the witness's story is inaccurate. Whether the risk is deliberate inaccuracy, as in the case of accomplices, or unintentional inaccuracy, as in the case of youngsters and some complainants in sexual assault cases.
Another rationale for the law needing corroboration is to keep someone from being falsely accused of rape.