The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has urged state governors to domesticate the Violence Against Person Prohibition Acts (VAPP) over incessant rape in the country.
The Director General of the agency, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, made the call at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja, noting that such domestication would help in dealing with perpetrators of rape.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the VAPP Act, enacted in 2015 states that a person has committed rape if such person intentionally penetrates the virgina, anus or mouth of another person.
It notes that the offence has been committed if the other person does not consent to the penetration or the consent is obtained by force, among others.
A person convicted of this offence is liable to imprisonment for life, except where the offender is less than 14 years of age.
The NAPTIP boss, therefore, urged state governors to “resolutely pursue the adoption of the VAPP Act before the issue of rape cases get out of hand.
“As at today, only about five states have laws against sexual and gender based violence, Lagos and Ekiti are the top on the list.
“This is a clarion call for states to domesticate the VAPP Act in their states to deepen the protection of women and children from predators in our society.
“State governors and assemblies that are delaying the domestication are inadvertently promoting sexual violence in their domain.”
She said that in many rape cases, the accused often hinged on consent.
Okah-Donli added that the determination of consent often led to distressing cross examination of rape victims in court, saying that this led to victims not reporting to the police to press charges.
She said that those charged with rape had a higher than average rate of acquittal mainly because it was difficult to prove a crime which usually had no third party witness.
She stressed that cases of rape was usually under-reported and under prosecuted.
According to her, the psychological reactions of victims in this regard include shame, humiliation, confusion, fear and rage.