Child Rape Cases on the Rise in Nigeria
 

 

Abuja, Nigeria. July 15th, 2014 - Our second Special Edition Snap poll for 2014 focuses on the recurring issue of Child Rape in the society. NOIPolls  worked in partnership with the Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER) to provide more information on the subject matter to support all causes geared towards ending the rape of minors in the Country Topline results have revealed that almost 7 in 10 Adult Nigerians (67%) think there is a high prevalence of child rape in the country while  3 in 10(31%) personally know of a victim of Child Rape in their local communities. Furthermore,almost 4 in 10 (36%) Adult Nigerians, representing the majority, claim that most often the offenders involved in the incident of child rape are close family relatives and neighbors (33%).  Also  almost half (49%) of  those that personally know a victim claim they involved children aged between 7-12 years of age and, 78% of this group mentioned these cases were reported to local police authority. Further findings revealed that majority of Adult Nigerians want the perpetrators to receive a sentence of at least 14 years in prison and also advocate enforcement of severe punishment for offenders as a way of eradicating the incidence of child rape in Nigeria. It is important to note that legal practitioners had previously argued that weak legal sanctions and enforcement in rape cases is one of the reasons why there is a low rate of rape persecution cases in Nigeria. It is not just practical to ensure maximum punishment, it is imperative that local law enforcement authorities enforce this punishment in a firm and decisive manner[1].  These were the key findings from the CHILD RAPE SPECIAL EDITION SNAP POLLconducted in the week of June 9th 2014

 
Child Rape is one of the most traumatizing forms of violence against children, usually committed by a person in a position of power and trust in the child’s life. While several cases are officially reported to the appropriate authorities in Nigeria, most people believe the majority of rape cases go unreported mainly because parents want to protect their children from potential stigmatization and embarrassment. 
 
2004 witnessed the reportage of child rape cases in Kano State, 2005 further witnessed an increment in reported child rape cases that escalated to an alarming rate in 2007. Furthermore, within two months in 2008, over a hundred cases involving underage victims were reported to the police authority prompting an alarm raised by the police authority about the steady and noticeable increment in the overall number of reported child rape cases in the state.  In Lagos, the Lagos State Police Command revealed that the command had recorded 678 cases of rape between March 2012 and March 2013[2] and with an undisclosed number of the victims being underage.
 
In recent times, the Nigerian media has reported the increased frequency of child rape cases in various parts of the Country with an example of a case, in February 2014, a 27 year old man in Osun state was arrested by the police and charged after reports that he had raped a 2 years old girl at his residence in the Ifelodun Local Government area of the state.[3]
 
Given the brief historical background and facts provided within this report on child rape cases and the responses received from respondents, the key questions that need to be asked are ‘why is child rape on the increase in Nigeria?' and, what should be done to curb this social anomaly?
 
NOIPolls in partnership with the Stand to End Rape Initiative Group conducted its recent poll to seek the views of Nigerians regarding the prevalence of child rape, the reporting of child rape cases and possible remedies to address the issue.
 
Respondents to the poll were asked eight specific questions. The first sought the opinions of Nigerians on the frequency of child rape. Respondents were asked: In your opinion, how prevalent is the issue of child rape in Nigeria (rape of persons below 18 years)? The findings reveal that the overall majority (67%: 35%+32%) think that child rape is prevalent in Nigeria while 19% are of the view that it is somewhat prevalent. In addition, 14% of the respondents surveyed indicated that it is not prevalent at all.
 
When the results are analysed according to geo-political zones, the South-West zone has the highest quota of Nigerians (76%: 43%+34%) that think child rape is prevalent. The North-East zone had the largest ratio of respondents (28%) that stated that child rape is somewhat prevalent while the South-South zone has the highest proportion of Nigerians (29%) that think it is not prevalent at all.

 
[1] Rape in Nigeria: New Developments – Deji Olunlade
[2] www.theeagleonline.com.ng
[3] www.vanguardngr.com

 

 

Furthermore, in order to ascertain the proportion of those that actually know victims of child rape, respondents were asked: Do you personally know of any child that has been a victim of child rape in your locality? The result shows that slightly more than 3 in 10Nigerians (31%) personally know victims of child rape in their locality. On the other hand, 69% of the respondents claimed that they do not know of any victim of child rape in their locality.

Further analysis across geo-political zones shows that the North-Central zone has the highest proportion of respondents (31%) that confirmed that they personally know victims of child rape in their locality. In addition, the South-West zone has the largest proportion (69%) of respondents that do not know of any victim of child rape in their locality. It is also pertinent to note that more females (36%) than males (25%) personally know victims of child rape in their locality. 

 

 

Respondents that knew victims of child rape (31% of the total) were further asked: What age category did the victim fall under? The majority (49%) stated that the victims they knew were between 7-12 years old. This is followed by 26% of respondents that knew victims aged between 13-17 years while 19% knew victims that were less than years old.  Apart from the underage victims, 6% of the respondent’s indicated the victims they knew were above the age of 18 years.

Exploring from the geo-political zone standpoint reveals that the North-West zone has the highest percentage of respondents that asserted they knew victims aged between 0-6 and 7-12with 27% and 56% respectively. The North-East zone has the largest quota of respondents that claimed they knew victims aged between 13-17 years.
From the age-group stance, it is observed that respondents aged between 55-65 years have the highest proportion that know victims aged less than 6 years old (42%) while respondents aged between 45-54 years have the largest number of respondents that know victims aged between 7-12 years.

 

 

Subsequently, respondents that knew victims of child rape (31% of the total) were also asked: Do you know if it (the rape case) was reported? In response to this question, the majority (67%) claimed that the incident was reported while 21% claimed it was not reported. In addition, 12% of the respondents indicated that they didn’t know if the incidence was reported or not. 

From the geo-political zones perspective, the South-East zone has the highest proportions of respondents (73%) that confirmed that the incident was reported. On the other hand, the South-West zone has the highest number of respondents that affirmed that the incidence was not reported. Additionally, the North-East zone accounted for the highest ratio of respondents (20%) that stated that they don’t know if the incidence was actually reported.

 

 

Respondents who confirmed that the rape case was reported were further asked: Who was the incidence reported to? The outcome discloses that the vast majority of respondents indicated that the child rape was reported to the police (78%), followed by 9% who said it was reported to a parent/guardian. In addition, another 3% each said the child rape case was reported to religious institution and NGOs.

Assessing from the geo-political zone viewpoint, the South-East zone has the largest proportion of respondents that confirmed that the incidence was reported to the police. This closely followed by the North-Central zone with 87%. All the respondents (100% each) between the age-group of 19-34 years and 55-65 years indicated that most child rape incidences was reported to the police. 

 

 

All respondents (whether they knew a child rape victim or not) were asked: Which category of persons would you consider as the most offenders of child rape in Nigeria? The findings show that the slight majority (36%) consider “close family relatives” to most often be the offenders involved in child rape in Nigeria. This is followed by 33% of respondents that think it is“home neighbor”, “strangers” (28%)“House help/Nannies” (25%) and “family friends” (20%). Furthermore, 16% say is perpetrated by “unemployed people” whereas 4% blamed it on other factors.

Evaluating from the geo-political viewpoint, the South-East zone and the South-West zone have the highest proportion of respondents saying it is close family relatives with 41% each. The North-West zone and the North-East zone have the largest number of respondents stating home, neighbors and strangers with 38% and 45% respectively. Also, the age-group 19-24years has the highest fraction of respondents that believe it is mostly done by strangers.

 

 

In order to seek the views of Nigerians regarding penalty for child rape offenders, respondents were asked: What punishment do you think is befitting for child rapists in Nigeria? The vast majority of respondents (65%) think that prison sentences of 14 years should be the penalty for offenders, whereas 17% feel that the death penalty should be the punishment and11% think they should be in rehabilitative custody.

From the geo-political zone standpoint, the South-South zone has the highest percentage(77%) of Nigerians that indicated prison sentence of 14 years should be punishment for offenders. The North-East zone accounted for the the largest ratio of those that said death penalty and the North-central zone has the largest quota of Nigerians that believed they should be in rehabilitative custody.

 

 

Finally, respondents were asked: In your own words, what should be done to eradicate the incidence of child rape in Nigeria? 30% of Nigerians believe that “enforcing severe punishment” would help eradicate child rape in Nigeria. This is followed by “Good parental upbringing” (21%)“Public enlightenment campaign” (16%)“Education on moral values and sex”(11%) and “Job creation” (8%).

Assessing from the geo-political zone view, the South-East has the highest proportion of respondents (42%)  that think “enforcing severe punishment” could help eradicate child rape while the South-West accounted for the largest ratio (25%) of Nigerians that stated “good parental upbringing”. In addition, the North-Central zone has the highest (19%) that said “public enlightenment campaign”, whereas the North-East has the largest numbers of those that feels “education on moral values and sex” would help eradicate the incidence of child rape.
 
Furthermore, respondents in the 35-44 years age-group have the highest percentage of respondents (35%) that think “enforcing severe punishment” would help eradicate child rape,40% of those aged between 55-65 years think “good parental upbringing” while 38% of those aged between 19-24 years think “job creation” would also help eradicate child rape in Nigeria.

 

 

In conclusioncurrent poll results have revealed that the majority of Nigerians (67%) affirm there is a high prevalence of child rape in Nigeria and 31% know victims of child rape in their localities. The majority of those that personally know victims of child rape (49%) claim the victims are aged between 7-12 years and 78% of these persons claim these cases were reported to the police.

Furthermore, 65% want the perpetrators to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and the majority advocate enforcement of severe punishment for offenders (30%) as a way of eradicating the incidence of child rape in Nigeria. It is important to note that legal practitioners had previously argued that weak legal sanctions and enforcement in rape cases is one of the reasons why there is a low rate of rape persecution cases in Nigeria. It is not just practical to ensure maximum punishment, it is imperative that local law enforcement authorities enforce this punishment in a firm and decisive manner[4].

Please click on this link to download a full copy of the Child Rape Special Edition Snap Poll Report

Survey Methods
The opinion poll was conducted in June 9th to 11th 2014. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited, No.1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com
 
Disclaimer
This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.
 
NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.
 
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