The governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna State signed a law on Wednesday prescribing surgical castration for both men and women convicted of child rape.
Under the legislation, men convicted of raping children under the age of 14 will have their testicles surgically removed before being executed. Women convicted of the same offense will have their fallopian tubes surgically removed before being executed.
“In addition, such convicts will be listed in the Sex Offenders Register to be published by the Attorney-General of the state,” Nigeria’s Premium Times reported.
The report did not clarify why surgical castration would be prescribed to convicts if they will then face the death penalty.
Kaduna State’s previous law on rape “carried a maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a child,” according to the newspaper.
“Under the amended law, the punishment for the rape of a person older than 14 years will include surgical castration or removal of fallopian tubes, but the death penalty shall not apply. In cases where the rape convict is also a child, the court shall order an appropriate punishment under the [state’s] Children and Young Persons Law,” according to the report.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai said that “drastic penalties are required to help further protect children from a serious crime.”
During recent periods of coronavirus lockdown, the number of reported rape cases in Nigeria rose dramatically. From March to July, Nigeria documented 717 rape cases and 7,170 unreported rapes across the country. For comparison, Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics said that over 2,200 cases of rape and indecent assault were reported for 2017.
In response to the surge, government officials and women’s health advocates called for tougher action against rapists earlier this summer. On July 15, Nigeria’s legislature convened in the capital, Abuja, to discuss solutions for the crisis. Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila “advocated for severe punishment for rapists as a way of fighting the rising cases” that could involve “chopping off the genitals” of convicted rapists.
Despite the recent spike in rape cases, Nigeria has long suffered from high rates of sexual violence. “One in four girls and ten percent of boys have been victims of sexual violence” in Nigeria, UNICEF reported.