LAWMAKERS in Nigeria’s Kaduna State have approved surgical castration as punishment for those convicted of raping children under the age of 14.
State governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai needs to sign the bill for it to become law in the north-western state.
This comes following public outrage over a wave of rapes, which prompted the nation’s state governors to declare a state of emergency.
However, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has previously supported castration to prevent rapists from re-offending.
Nigeria’s federal law provides between 14 years and life imprisonment as punishment, but state legislators can set different sentencing rules.
Since 2015, when a new law was introduced, about 40 rape suspects have been charged, in a country of some 200 million people, according to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Naptip), which has a sex offenders’ list on its website.
The new law broadened the scope under which sexual offences can be penalised in Nigeria and removed the time limit of two months during which rape cases had to be tried before they became ineligible to be heard in a court.
Stigma often prevents victims from reporting incidents of rape in Nigeria and the number of successful prosecutions is low. – BBC