Lawyers express worry over rising cases of incest

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 Two Lagos-based lawyers have expressed concern over the rising cases of incest, especially those of fathers defiling their underage daughters.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos, they said action needed to be taken against people with such behaviour.

Mr Sola Ajayi, a legal practitioner, said the act might lead to an unhealthy society if proactive measures were not taken to stop it.

Ajayi said, “It is sad how father who should be role models for their daughters, defile them when there are countless adult women available for sexual relationships.

“Imagine, a 50-year-old man confessed that he sexually abused his seven years old daughter because his wife starved him of sex. Similarly, I handled a case in which another father slept with his three underage daughters.

“What would inspire or attract a man to have sex with his minor or teenage daughter? Such father needs psychiatric examinations because no sane man should engage in such.”

According to him, victims may be left damaged mentally and emotionally throughout their lives.

Ajayi said that broken homes and leaving the girl-child in the custody of her father after divorce should not be responsible for incest.

He, however, noted that such devilish act still happens under an ideal home-setting where both parents live together.

The lawyer further noted that there were situations where mothers were aware of such act, but would rather prevent their daughters from speaking up against their fathers.

According to Ajayi, women sometimes cover up their husbands because of the shame it will cause the family.

Ajayi said that the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, Section 137, prescribes life imprisonment for anyone caught in rape and incest.

“Those caught in Lagos State were made to face the full wrath of the law to deter potential offenders,” he said.

In curtailing this trend, he advised mothers not to conceal the act but report to the relevant authorities for justice to run its course.

He urged mothers to be vigilant and watchful over their female children to guard them against incest and rape.

“If father cannot be trusted, I don’t think anyone else can be trusted.

“Be vigilant, be closer to them, raise them to be able to express themselves and talk easily about what happens between them and their fathers.


“Educate them on issues relating to sex, and also watch out for behaviour that is unusual,” he said.

The lawyer noted that it was everyone’s responsibility in ensuring that the ugly act must be stopped, saying that “as no member of the society is exempted from the scourge”.

In the same vein, another lawyer, Mrs Bolanle Ojo, said that father-daughter incest had become a daily news item in the media and many cases had been underreported because of the fear of stigma.

“Many cases are not reported and some of those reported go unpunished because most times their cases are usually struck out for lack of diligent prosecution, or witness to testify against the accused in the case.”

She identified loneliness, divorce, sex starve, depression, alcoholism, among others as factors that could be responsible for such act.

The legal practitioner said that in some quarters, people believe that men sleep with their daughters for demonic motives.

Ojo said that in most cases, fathers who rape their daughters threaten to kill them if they report.

She said, “I have handled a case of a 15-year-old girl whose father started having canal knowledge of her at the age of eight. He threatened to kill her if she tells anyone but was eventually caught in the act.”

According to her, perpetrators should be made to face serious psychological screening and if found to be in control of his faculty, must be brought to book, while therapy be administered to the victim.

She cautioned mothers never to leave their girls without proper supervision, noting that “girls are no longer safe”.

Ojo, therefore, advised fathers to learn to control their sexual urge, while trying to bond with their daughters.

She called on the civil society organisations not to relent in their efforts to put an end to the act. (NAN)