The Lagos State Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye yesterday disclosed that 427 rape cases were recorded in Lagos state last year.
Briefing news men on the activities of the Ministry of Justice and the rising incidences of rape cases in the country, Ipaye said that Lagos State, through the Office of Public Defence, recorded 427 rape cases in 2012.
He urged parents and guardians in the state to give special attention to their children and wards by monitoring their movements and activities very closely.
He said the major challenge being faced by the state was the inability of the affected parties to report rape cases to the authority.
According to the commissioner, the state has intensified its efforts towards prosecuting rapists and other criminals in the state, and urged parents and public to assist government by exposing the rapists wherever they are in the state.
“During the period under review, the office of the Public Defence intervened in the pathetic cases of an 11-year old girl who was allegedly defiled by a pastor. The pastor was alleged to have procured abortion for the girl three times in 2012. OPD promptly got the pastor arrested and he has since been charged to court. The growing incidence of rape and defilement of minors justify a warning to parents.
“A lot of these happen but the families affected always want to cover it up for some reasons best known to them. We don’t even know the large chunk of these cases because the people affected are not coming out. We just need to be more attentive to our children, especially the female ones,” he said
Ipaye however, said that in a bid to reduce congestion in prisons, the state government had tactically and creatively established non-custodian law which gives room for engaging offenders in public community services as penalty, adding that in January alone, 207 people underwent public services orders.
“These 207 individuals that could have increased the population of our prisons and aggravated the conditions there were addressed in other way. Able-bodied beggars and street traders are included in this category.
“We are now engaging the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation with a view to referring appropriate cases for vocational training after they must have completed their period of community service. This will further encourage constructive engagement of our vibrant workforce and reduce the crime rate in our society,” he said.
Ipaye also disclosed that the state has 327 petitions in January alone and about 1,204 cases are ongoing in various courts.