Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has advocated stiffer penalties against rapists, paedophiles and anyone involved in child abuse to serve as deterrence to others.
He also urged people of the state to stop giving alms to child beggars to discourage the rising trend of child beggars in the state.
Speaking to the Chairman and members of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in the state, led by Mrs. Stella Ojemen, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Oshiomhole said: “Edo State Government appreciates that you are addressing some of the challenges that government ought to have addressed like ensuring that we all mount campaigns against rape and defilement as well as ensure that when people have carried out these heinous crimes, that they are properly arrested and that they are diligently prosecuted with a view to sending them to prison.
“We have discussed this time and again at our executive council meetings and at a point, we asked the attorney general to review the laws such that the number of years a convict gets will commensurate with the severe nature of rape and defilement.
“We are concerned, we have discussed this and we have a feeling that the number of reported cases are on the increase. We also know that because of the nature of our environment, there will be several others that may not even be reported at all.
“When you look at the sheer number of rape cases that are recorded, it is clear that across the country, rape and defilement cases are increasing and therefore this calls for tougher measures on the part of those strengthening the law and providing for stiffer punishments than what is currently obtained but also ensure that the few cases that are reported are properly prosecuted with a view to securing conviction.
“Consistent with our commitment in this area, I would advise that whenever you have such cases, when you are likely to have much more information than even the Ministry of Justice or police, and there might be cases where efforts are made to cover up cases reported in some quarters, you are an NGO and might wish to open up such cases. So. I will advise you to liaise effectively with the attorney general and also encourage the local government chapters to ensure that all cases are reported,” he said.
The governor, however, noted that the state had recorded a high level of victory in the fight against kidnapping and reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that kidnappers were completely put out of business in the state.
Oshiomhole called on the people of the state to join hands with the Government and other non-governmental organizations to ensure that incidents of child labour and street begging were completely wiped out of the state, adding that Edo people were not lazy and would not succumb to begging as an alternative to hard work.