The Promotion And Protection Of Rape Victims Rights In Nigeria: A Case Study Of Lagos State

Project and Seminar Material Under International Law and Diplomacy

The Promotion And Protection Of Rape Victims Rights In Nigeria: A Case Study Of Lagos State


The study examines criminal law and violations of the raped victims rights in Nigeria, using Lagos State as a study.

The research adopted qualitative method. It uses content/document analysis which are case law books, textbooks, print media, journals, articles, write-ups, internet based materials, authentic internet sources, class notes on criminal law and rape victim right in Nigeria.

The findings of the study reveals that: Criminal laws are associated to the protection of rape victims with reference to the Nigerian society. Causes and cases of rape in Lagos state are in-depth, the challenges and issues that rape victims in the state faces are huge, and the laws and other institutional mechanisms put in place by the government are to protect them.

The study concludes that for this untoward situation to be arrested or tackled, concerted efforts should be channelled towards the utilization of other institutional mechanisms geared towards curbing and addressing incidences of rape and the impact on rape victims. The study further recommends: Those in charge of enforcements of these laws, including the civil society and human rights organizations should do all they can to ensure speedy trials. A specialized court (fast-track court) either by the state or the federal government should also be established with less cumbersome rules of procedure and evidence in order to fast track the prosecution of rape suspects. Tackling the problem of rape should requires a broad-based-strategy.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

One in four boys and one in 10 girls under age 18 are victims of sexual violence, the U.N. children’s fund has said. Health experts say more children and young women are coming forward to talk about the problem as the stigma attached to discussing it is subsiding slowly. Cases of sexual assault are increasingly reported. However, Nigerian researchers have not given adequate attention to this subject despite its attendant social, physical and psychological consequences. 
Rape is not a medical diagnosis. It is a legal terminology reserved for cases of

penile penetration of the victim’s vagina or anus without consent. Other types of sexual assault include coerced vaginal or anal penetration by any other body parts or object; breast or genitalia fondling; or being forced to touch another person’s genitalia.

Rufai spoke during a press briefing to inaugurate a booklet by a non-governmental organisation, Project Alert on Violence Against Women and Children.

The booklet, ‘Sexual Violence in Nigeria: A silent epidemic,’ documents rape cases in Lagos.

Rufai said most of the cases involved real penetration of the victims, adding that rape had become an epidemic.

She said, “Between July 2014 and February 2017, we have treated about 2,252 cases. They involved real penetration of the victims’ private parts. The youngest person was a four-month- old baby, and the oldest was a 70-year-old woman, who was a stroke patient and was raped by her landlord’s son.

Not strangers
Juliana Joseph, the manager of the Salama Sexual Assault Referral Center, said 90 percent of all victims are sexually abused by people they know. The center has treated women and children who have been raped by their grandparents, fathers and uncles. 

are going out and you entrust your child to the care of a neighbor, and by the time you’re back, it’s a different story,” Joseph said, adding that poor investigations mean a good number of perpetrators move about freely. Barrister Zainab Aminu Garba, the chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers in Kaduna, said rape has become an epidemic in Nigeria. She said victims are not just women, but men and boys as well.
The Nigerian Criminal Code recommends life imprisonment for the perpetrators of rape and 14 years for attempted rape. But Yakubu Sabo, the public relations officer for the police in Kaduna state, said many rape cases involving children are never investigated because parents want to protect their children from being stigmatized. “Some families kill the evidence,” he said, maintaining the belief that rape victims will not be able to find a suitor for marriage. Sabo advised parents to watch their neighborhoods closely and to be mindful of whom they leave their children with.

Rape is a very serious sexual assault both under Nigerian law and other jurisdictions. The reason is that the issue of sexual intercourse is strictly a personal thing and should be done on the volition of the individual that wish to indulge in it. In other words, consent is paramount in sexual intercourse. Thus, when carnal knowledge is undertaken without a person’s consent, it amounts to a crime. The offence of rape is heinous because apart from constituting an invasion of the most intimate privacy of the victim, it usually has devastating effects on victims and their families respectively. In Nigeria, the Criminal and Penal Codes have made provisions for what constitutes rape. Under these laws for example, a woman cannot be guilty of rape. However, in light of the wide spectrum of the conception some jurisdictions, it would appear that the scope of rape under the Nigerian Jurisprudence is not comprehensive enough to include every act that constitutes rape in current globe conception. This article discusses the offence of rape as presently conceived under Nigerian law and advocates for a reform to make the concept be in consonance with the current global trend.

Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own unique way. Personal style, culture, and context of the survivor’s life may affect these reactions. Some express their emotions while others prefer to keep their feelings inside. Some may tell others right away what happened, others will wait weeks, months, or even years before discussing the assault, if they ever choose to do so. It is important to respect each person’s choices and style of coping with this traumatic event. Whether an assault was completed or attempted, and regardless of whether it happened recently or many years ago, it may impact daily functioning. A wide range of reactions can impact victims.

1.2 Statement of the problem

The incidence of rape and gender related violence has become a source of worry to governments, development planners and researchers across the globe. In many developing countries and Nigeria included. Hardly a day passes without reported or rumoured cases of rape or gender violence. This has prompted, among other things, the passing of stringent legislations into law in some of these countries including Nigeria with the hope of reducing the incidences of rape. This study makes a contribution to analyse the criminal laws associated to the protection of rape victims, with reference to the Nigerian society, using Lagos and the cases of rape in Lagos as a case study.

1.3 Research Objectives

The main objective of this study is to examine the criminal laws and the violations of the rape victim rights in Nigeria: a case study of Lagos state. The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Examine the nature of rape in Lagos.
  2. Examine the cases of rape in Lagos.
  3. Examine the criminal laws applied in rape case in Nigeria.
  4. Examine how the law protects rape victims in Nigeria.
  5. Investigate the stigma rape victims face in Lagos.
  6. Investigate different ways to takle rape in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions guide the objectives of this research.

  1. What is the nature of Rape cases in Nigeria?
  2. How many cases have been handled successfully?
  3. How has Criminal laws affected rape victims?
  4. Does the law protect rape victims?
  5. What is the stigma around rape victims?
  6. The different ways of tackling rape in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is shedding light on how the law has violated the rights of rape victims in Nigeia. Many women and even men have nowhere to turn to after being sexually assaulted and that is not the case. A rape victim is supposed to have confidence in the laws of their land to protect them.

This study will not only emphasize on the laws protecting a rape victim, it will also be a source of enlightenment to victims who don’t even know their rights are being violated. Also, by shedding more light on the issue of the violation of rape victims, pressure in maintained on the Nigerian government to continue working towards a solution.

1.5 Scope of the study

This research work will use documentary data to examine the Criminal law and violations of the raped victims rights in Nigeria: A case study of Lagos state, this research work also relies on secondary data from reports, research papers, journals, published books and newspaper articles. These sources complement and supplement the information and form the bulk of the literature on the Criminal laws protecting raped victims and also a violation of the raped victims rights in Nigeria using Lagos state as a case study.

1.6 Methodology

This research will make use of qualitative design which will adopt survey design approach in analyzing content. It adopts secondary sources of data and information such as books, journals, newspapers, online articles, statutes and case laws related to international humanitarian laws and internally displaced persons. The review of literature will be thematic, looking for themes and sub-themes.

1.7 Definition of Terms


Rape id a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without giving valid consent.


Consent in this context is sexual consent. Consent can be defined as an agreement to engage in sexual activities.


A victim is a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other events or action.

Criminal Law:

Criminal law is a system of law concerned with the punishment of offenders Violation: Violation can be defined as the action of failing to comply with a rule or agreement

1.8 Synopsis of Chapter

The research work will cover five chapters.

  • Chapter one, this chapter will provide the introduction of the study, specify the research questions, research methodology and the research structure, the objective of the study and the scope of the study.
  • Chapter two review some concepts and literatures that are relevant to the study. It will also analyze articles and case studies related to the study
  • Chapter three: this chapter will discuss the causes and cases of rape in lagos state.
  • Chapter four: this chapter will analyze the challenges and issues that raped Victims in Lagos state face and the Laws put in place by the government to protect them.
  • Chapter five: this chapter will provide recommendations in response to the laws affecting raped victims and will also conclude the study.

The Promotion And Protection Of Rape Victims Rights In Nigeria: A Case Study Of Lagos State

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The Promotion And Protection Of Rape Victims Rights In Nigeria: A Case Study Of Lagos State


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