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Stakeholders intensify campaign as sexual assault persists

Despite stiff laws against sexual assault, its scourge persists in Nigeria.

DAILY POST reports that the perpetrators range from the least known to the very influential personalities in the country.informationguidenigeria

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It is believed that the silence of victims owing to stigmatization has not helped matters.

DAILY POST recalls that an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court recently sentenced a Lagos bishop, Feyi Daniels, to life imprisonment for raping his 23-year-old assistant.

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Justice Rahman Oshodi held that Daniels, the Bishop of Reign Christian Ministry should spend the rest of his life at the Kirikiri custodial facility in Lagos.

DAILY POST also recalls that the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama sentenced an Abuja–based businessman, Chika Adionye, 42 years old, to life imprisonment for the rape of two children, who are cousins and were 7 and 8 years old respectively at the time of the rape.

The convict was arrested by the operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in 2016 at Kara Majiji Community of Airport Road, a suburb of the FCT, following a petition by the mother of one of the victims.JAMB Result

There are reports that one in four Nigerian females reported experiencing sexual violence in childhood, with approximately 70% reporting more than one incident of sexual violence.

Other findings by DAILY POST from the Data Manager, Federal Ministry Women of Affairs, Mr Sunday Agbakaba, showed that Nigeria recorded 27,698 cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence between 2020 and 2023.JAMB Portal

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Agbakaba said this during the train-the-trainers workshop on the use of the GBV dashboard and reportage in Umuahia, Abia State capital, adding the data was obtained since the inception of the GBV National Dashboard between 2020 and October 2023.NYSC PORTAL

According to the breakdown of the figures, the ministry recorded 1,145 fatal GBV cases, while 393 perpetrators were convicted within the period under review.

The dashboard also showed 9,636 open cases; 3,432 new cases; 1,741 closed cases and 1,895 follow-up cases.NYSC PORTAL

“The dashboard is an innovative central reporting and data visualisation platform for real-time tracking of different types and locations of GBV in the country,” he said.

Within the week, the Women Affairs Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, also expressed worry over the increasing rate of Gender-Based Violence, GBV, in the federal capital, Abuja.

Its Mandate Secretary, Mrs Adebayo Benjamins-Laniyi, expressed the worry at a news conference to mark her 100 days in office.

Benjamins-Laniyi said that a total of 3,072 cases of GBV have been reported in recent times in the FCT, stressing that 2,000 of the cases were reported in the last 100 days.

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Mirabel Centre, also joined the fight recently, calling for the unflinching support of Nigerians to declare war against sexual violence and other crimes.

The NGO, in a statement, urged Nigerians to support survivors by creating a safe and inclusive environment for them to speak out, so that the atrocious crime could be defeated.

“Someone we know, love or work with could be a survivor.

“Rape or sexual assault affects the victims physically, emotionally, mentally and socially, it can be shattering, leaving survivors being scared, ashamed, and alone or plagued by nightmare, flashbacks, and other unpleasant memories,” it said.

Also, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, Nigeria (WANEP-Nigeria), has called for stiffer legislation to protect women and girls from rape.

WANEP-Nigeria in a statement said the organisation is concerned with the increasing sexual assault and rape of women and girls in the country.

“To ameliorate the situation, WANEP- Nigeria created an online survey to document incidences of Sexual and Gender Based Violence for referral and intervention. Emerging data gathered revealed a high number of child abuse, rape, sexual harassment and human rights violations,” it said in a statement.

Another Non-Governmental Organisation, Women at Risk International Foundation, WARIF, in collaboration with the United States Consulate General Lagos, has also called for an end to rape, sexual violence and trafficking of women through a 3km walk along the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge to create awareness against the menace in Nigeria.

The 4th WANEP march tagged: ‘No Tolerance March’, was held simultaneously across eight cities: Lagos, Abuja, London, Frankfurt, New York, Houston, Dallas and Cape Town in commemoration of the United Nations (UN) 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

The NGO during the recent march said, “Sexual and gender-based violence, SGBV, is a human rights violation, with detrimental impacts on victims, survivors, families, communities, and societies – women living with disabilities and those with or at risk of HIV/AIDS are disproportionately more at risk to SGBV.

“SGBV encompasses sexual violence, physical violence, emotional and psychological violence, early marriage, femicide, trafficking, female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual harassment and rape.”

Commenting on the scourge of sexual assault in the Nigerian society, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, who lamented what she described as incommensurate sanctions meted to culprits of rape, sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria, called for stiffer sanctions, urging the judiciary to wake up to its responsibility on the issue.

“There are some punishments that are not commensurate with the offences. An offence of a big nature like raping a child and the perpetrator is still given an option? NAPTIP wants to hear quality convictions on rape and SGBV cases,” Waziri-Azi said in her opening remarks at a one-day technical retreat for Judges and NAPTIP Prosecutors in Abuja.

Speaking to DAILY POST, the Director of Press and Public Relations, NAPTIP, Zachariah Dauda, frowned at the upsurge of rape in Nigeria, especially the involvement of high-profiled persons in the society.

He said, regardless of social status, whoever is found culpable would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“The agency does not care about who anyone is. If you like, be anybody in the society. Once you are caught and found guilty, you will surely dance to the music the law would sing for you.

“We as an agency of government charged with the responsibility of ridding the country of such dastard acts would make sure we carry out our constitutional mandates without fear or favour,” he said.

He urged victims not to sweep the matter under the carpet “but blow it out to enable the agency to arrest and prosecute the culprit,” stressing that keeping silence would make the perpetrators continue in their heinous act.

“If you are unfortunate to fall into the hands of these people, please speak out. And if you have any evidential proofs about this nefarious act against anybody or group, also let it out, hence our slogan; ‘if you see something, say something’.

“By the time you don’t speak out, these people would make this wicked act their lifestyle and that would be so disastrous to our nation,” he added.

News credit: DAILYPOST

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing. Whatapp: 08088735884

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