Child rapists will face death under new legislation in Kaduna, Nigeria and anyone who rapes a person above 14 will be surgically castrated.
Governors declared a state of emergency in the region after rape cases rose dramatically during the months of coronavirus lockdown.
The law will be the stricter against rape across all of Nigeria, Africa, following an outcry from women’s groups.
Previously, the law carried a maximum penalty of 21 years’ imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a child.
Under new legislation, a man caught raping a child under age 14 will face the death penalty and a woman faces the removal of her fallopian tubes.
Men who rape anyone over the age of 14 will face castration and life imprisonment, whereas women will just face life imprisonment.
Nigeria’s Kaduna state Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai signed the law into affect on Thursday September 17 and said the “drastic penalties are required to help further protect children from a serious crime.”
Nigerian Police said rape numbers surged in April after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was enforced.
According to UNICEF, the African nation has long faced a sexual violence crisis and one in four young women and girls is sexually abused before they turn 18.
The legislation follows mass protests after Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old student, was raped and bludgeoned to death while she studied in her local church.
She was found lying half-naked in a pool of blood at the church where she had been a member of the choir for many years.
Edo Police Command spokesman Chidi Nwabuzor said: “The item used in the assault, which was a fire extinguisher, was recovered.
“Immediately the operatives… screened the fingerprints, which led to our suspect.”
Uwaila’s sister, Judith, said she “wanted to be a minister and preach the word of God” and “that she was murdered where she always found peace is just devastating.”