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AN EXAMINATION OF LEGAL FRAMEWORK ON NIGERIA SEXUAL OFFENCES LAW


Project topic for Law department

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0       Background of the Study                                    

To ex-ray the sexual offences under the Nigeria legal jurisprudence.

Through, sexual offences are proscribed in Nigeria but there are some areas that are not codified. For example in our codes, incest is not an offence even though it is taken to be morally wrong. But no matter its moral implication, as long as it is not proscribed, it is not an offence unless if the culprit shall be charged for sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a crime of violence that puts the victim at risk of physical injury, psychological disturbance, emotional disturbance, pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. [1] Consequent upon the foregoing arises the need for an effective legal regulatory framework aimed at ensuring adequate protection within the ambit of law for victims of sexual offences.

This work is an attempt towards evaluating the effectiveness or otherwise of legal protections available to victims of sexual offences in Nigeria as offered by various legal enactments and notable judicial pronouncements.

This work will evaluate the remedies available to victims of sexual offences within the Nigerian legal system. Proper legal protections and remedies for victims of sexual offences can help to curb the high rate of sexual assault which is gradually degenerating into accepted norm in our country, and hence the need to assuage the ill feelings of the victims.

The prevalence of sexual offences is on the increase in Nigeria with smaller percentage of the victims reporting the crime. The under reporting of cases of sexual assault is mainly due to social stigma, prejudice with regard to the chances of marriage, being considered promiscuous and responsible for the incident, attendant humiliation and shame, embarrassment caused by appearance and cross examination in court, publicity in press, risk of losing the love and respect of society, friends and that of her partner, (husband or boyfriend).

 1.1      Statement of the Problem

The cause of such increase of sexual offences can be attributed to many factors. The factors are not unconnected with technological development and the liberalization of human and peoples’ rights. Technologically, the advent of television and cinemas helps in pushing the rate of sexual offences up. The use of internet which helps people to assess pornographic materials with much ado is one of the major instigators of sexual offences. The factors that encourage such offences can go on and on.

1.2       Aims and Objectives of the Study:

  • To define and determine concisely what sexual offences are.
  • To determine the prevalence of the offence or otherwise.
  • To clearly define who perpetrates the offence and when.
  • To state what constitutes the ingredients of each of the offences and the task before the prosecutor in proving same.
  • To clearly define the liability of each of the offences.
  • To suggest the ways of curbing the spread and menace of sexual offences in our present day society.
  • To show what sexual offences are and the societal reaction to such offences.

1.3       Research Methodology:

In carrying out this research, the doctrinal method of research shall be employed. The researcher shall adopt a combination of historical and comparative approach. The comparative approach will extend to analysis of legislations and practices in several other jurisdictions.

Also in this research, primary and secondary sources of data will be exploited. The primary sources of data came from statutes as well as reported cases of various courts and certified copies of unreported judgments.  Secondary material especially local and international textbooks, journal, articles and internet materials will also be analyzed

1.4       Significance of the Study                                        

The importance of highlighting or researching on sexual offences. How to  curb the menace of sexual abuse and assault [for example on women].

1.5       Scope and Limitation

            The scope of this study is the examination of sexual offences as provided

By Nigerian Statutes and case laws. Often times, we tend to think that sexual offences are only rape and sexual assault. It is not so. The only thing is that rape and sexual assaults are always in the public domain and this make people think that they are the only sexual offences.

This work is to ex-ray, compare the occurrences and re-occurrences of each of the sexual offences in the Nigerian society visa vis the applicability of the laws in cubing their occurrences.

Every law has jurisdictional Flavor. Sexual offences is no exception. In Nigeria for instance, adultery has discriminating jurisdiction. In the Southern Nigeria, Adultery is not a crime while in the Northern Nigeria Adultery is a crime.

Again, homo sexual is a crime in Nigeria but in so many jurisdictions of the world homo sexual and lesbianism are no more crimes in thise jurisdictions.

It is discovered that those that commit sexual offences in this jurisdiction most times are not punished reason being that in cases such as rape, the victims normally shy away and thereby not reporting the crime to the appropriate authorities.

Many times, the time and stress involved in prosecution of offences do scare many complainants away from prosecuting those allegedly committed offences against them.

1.6       Synopsis of Chapters

Chapter one exposed the topic by giving the background of the study which states that it is only those sexual offences proscribed under Nigerian law that are crime in Nigerian. This chapter stated the problem in this topic by discussing the factors that give birth to these sexual offences. It also went ahead to state numerous aims and objectives of the study which summarily aims at curbing the offences in the society. Books and online materials were consulted as the research methodology of this work. However, the significance of this study is to put men on the know about sexual offences in the society and proffer solutions to the menace. It also discussed the scope and limitations which talked about the time frame within which to take actions on sexual offences under our law. This chapter summarized other chapters for easy absorption of the idea about the study. It also defined terms for easy understanding.

In chapter two of the work, the statutory stipulation of this study were discussed. That is the laws that proscribed these sexual offences in Nigeria in accordance with jurisdictional application. For instance, as the criminal code applies to the Southern Nigeria, the penal code applies to the Northern Nigeria. This chapter discussed sexual offences of rape, Defilement and same sex Relationship and their ingredients of culpability.

Chapter three discussed the public perception of those sexual offences in Nigeria which in a nutshell says that even though those sexual offences are proscribed in our law, the society is still sleeping in the prosecution of some or all of them.

Then chapter four proffered solution to wriggle out of those sexual offences in Nigeria by educating parents, schools ,churches and the entire society on the right things to be done to avoid or at best totally eliminate this menace.

Finally, chapter five discussed observations that have been made so far in relation to this study and recommended some positive steps to be followed by the men of the society in order to be free from the menace and concluded by charging all and sundry to desist from these sexual offences as they are offence to God and humanity and also have negative consequences to human lives.

1.7       Definition of Terms:

OFFENCES: The criminal code under section 2 defined an offence as an act or omission which renders the person doing the act or making the Omission liable to punishment under this code, or liable under any Act or law1. By this provision, it all means that any person that commits an offence if apprehended will be charged for committing such offence.

Compensation: It is a monetary payment to compensate for loss or damage. When someone has committed a criminal offence that caused personal injury, loss, or damage, and he has been convicted for this offence or it was taken into account when sentencing for another offence, the court may make a compensation order requiring the offender to pay compensation to the person suffering the loss (with interest, if need be). [2] The objective of compensation is to assuage the victim for the difficult position he has been subjected to due to crime committed by another.

The Black’s Law Dictionary defines sexual offences as ‘sexual intercourse with another person who does not consent’ [3]

Victim: The Black’s Law Dictionary defines a victim as ‘a person harmed by a crime, tort, or other wrong. [4]

Art. 2:    A person may be considered a victim, under this declaration regardless of whether the perpetrator is identified, apprehended, prosecuted or convicted, and regardless of the familiar relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. The term “victim” also includes where appropriate, the immediate family or dependents of the direct victim and person who have suffered harm in intervening to assist victims on distress or to prevent victimization. [5]

Rape is defined as the introduction of the penis into the vagina (or between the labia) of the victim without her consent by means of force, fear, or fraud. Neither lacerations, ejaculation, or injury is necessary for the allegation. [6]

Victims of rape and sexual assault are men and women and children of all races, marital status, ages, and occupations. Those who are at highest risk for rape are women who are 13-

25 years old, black, single, low socioeconomic status (SES), and college students.4 The facts about rape as reported in the literature include: rape is a violent act; rape occurs in the US once every 13 minutes; one in 10 women will be raped before the age of 35 (one in three in some urban areas); it is estimated that only one in five rapes is reported; most rapes occur in the victim’s neighborhood;

60% of rapes occur in the victim’s home; 87% of rapists carry weapons or threaten their victims; a rapist averages 22.5 rapes in his lifetime; rape is not triggered by sexual beauty; rape is not a sexist crime because boys, men, and old women are also victims; 89% of the children raped are assaulted by someone known to them; 78% of women victims know the assailant; 35% of rapes are committed by a date, boyfriend, or fiance; a sizable number of late registrant pregnant teens are due to rape or incest; rape is planned 75-82% of the time, maybe not to a specific person but towards the first available woman; most rapes are intraracial; people can be raped against their will even if they fight; victims are not responsible for the actions of the rapist; neither women or men secretly wished to be raped; men who rape have not been shown to be different from the normal population of men; nice girls and strong men do get raped; when they are raped, men can achieve erection, women may lubricate, and both may achieve orgasm, usually to their dismay.1,3-5

As described throughout the literature dealing with feminist issues and rape, women have been seen as property to be cared for and used as such and passed from one man (father) to another (husband). It has also been noted that some women, as some property, are valued more than others and society cares and protects them more. This would account for the problem in being believed that some women have experienced when they have been sexually abused. In cases of rape, an upper or middle class married white woman is reportedly more likely to be believed than a poor black

single girl. [7]

Brownmiller describes the situation differently. She sees rape and sexual abuse as an invasion of the body by force, a deliberate violation of emotional, physical, and rational integrity and as a hostile, degrading act of violence, the intent of which is to humiliate and degrade. [8] The State of California Department of Health Services’ description is: “Sexual assault is a crime against the individual and society. Its victims face the multiple threats of disease, unwanted pregnancy, possible physical injury, and psychological trauma, which can create long-term emotional damage.

It is essential that persons treating sexual assault victims recognize the nonconsensual and violent nature of the crime.“‘ [9]

Family, friends, and neighbors were the offenders and only 35.6% of victims reported the abuse at the time of the event. [10] Nigeria is moving dangerously close to a sexually licentious society. Orgies, group sex, homosexuality, partner swapping, casual sex, incest, rape etc have all become realities in our society. Sexual liberalism has seen to the demise of many civilizations. A glowing example was that of Sodom and Gomorah. The present civilization of which Nigeria is a member has started seeing the signs or its demise, which is not other than the current wave of notorious diseases called “Aids” circulating fast among promiscuous persons. The deadly disease knows no true cure and deals deadly blows on its victims. Also our contemporary society is exposed to a phenomenon known as sexual exploitation. It is used as a tool in the employment sector where in most cases qualification or experience is not the most important requirement but the ability to donate a females person generously to the individual concerned. Similarly, school girls are exploited where success in academic pursuits in most cases, is not based on mental ability but the capability to submit to individuals concerned. This practice is tagged, “back for ground degree for hand”. Sexual Harassment of female students have for long been a worrisome source of concern in Educational institutions across the world and more particularly Africa and specifically Nigeria. The level of harassment in Nigeria’s institutions is overwhelming and alarming since even religious institutions were not left out in the commission of heinous acts by teachers, preachers and seductive students. [11] Thus, the prompting for the legislation of an Act, ‘’ Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Act, 2016 ‘’ for the protection of students against sexual hostility and all forms of sexual harassment in tertiary schools by making it criminal offence for any teacher in University, Polytechnics, colleges and any other institutions to violate or exploit the student-teacher relationship of authority, dependency and trust for sexual pleasures. [12]

It is pertinent to note that the Quran, the ever resounding law of Allah (SWT) said “Do not come nearer to “Zina” (Adultery), it is a shameful deed and an evil, opening way to other evils.” [13]

The sharia moulds the society while in the case of other legal systems it is the society that fashions the law. Sharia has sought to render life on earth as morally upright, religiously felicitous and generally beautiful. When one looks at the present situation in the world, the Quranic provision is very apt, succinct and n; indelible reminder. Whoever indulges in Zina will surely be blessed with multitude of sins. For example in the quest to satisfy his lust, a person engages in other evil ways e.g. theft, murder etc.

The laws are aimed at protecting the society but equally too is the individual. The individual is protected from his destructive self. For example “HIV and AIDS” has no cure and whoever is afflicted by or with it is certainly waiting for his time. In the event of getting aids, the family is destroyed and children are left behind as orphans as result of careless and reckless desire of satisfying a lust. Sexual offences apart from the health effects also deals deadly blow on the society by large scale of murders of innocent infants (infanticide) by way of abortions and other birth controls which also lead to death of young girls.

The case might not be unconnected with sexual exploitations either in schools, offices or business circles.




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