In Kaduna State, Nigeria, surgical castration has been approved as punishment for those convicted of raping children under the age of 14. Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has previously supported castration to prevent rapists from re-offending.
While Nigeria’s federal law provides between 14 years and life imprisonment as punishment, state legislators can set different sentencing rules.
Yahoo! reports that the incidence of rape and violence against women and children had in June seen Nigerian governors declaring a state of emergency. The lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus had also contributed to a spike in cases of sexual violence against women and children. Further, victims, fearing stigmatization, are reluctant to report the crime. Nigeria’s head of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Julie Okah-Donli said that proving rape is “quite tedious and technical”.
According to Yahoo! the new law will broaden the scope under which sexual offences can be penalised in Nigeria. Further, the time limit of two months during which rape cases had to be tried before they became ineligible to be heard in a court has now become defunct.
While the move has reportedly been widely welcomed in Kaduna, critics of the law argue that the physical effects of castration are irreversible and may have serious physical and mental consequences.
Umm Muhammed Umar