Protests, anger as forces move against rapists

Posted by Tony Akowe, Eric Ikhilae Simon Utebor and Linus Oota | 9 months ago | 275 times

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said rape and domestic violence increased during the period of the lockdown.

The agency said it arrested about 50 persons for rape and domestic violence.

Its Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli, spoke on Tuesday when she appeared before the House Committee on Public Accounts.

The agency’s revelation came as two members of the House of Representatives, Henry Archibong (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Ahmadu Jaha (APC, Borno) apologised to members of the House and Nigerian women over their comment on incidences of rape in the country.

The two lawmakers had while contributing to debate on rape cases in the country during the House plenary on Thursday, June 4, said to avoid rape, women should be asked to dress decently. The contributions were shouted down by members of the House.

However, coming under personal explanation during Tuesday’s plenary, Archibong said he received insults and abuses from Nigerians and his constituents over the suggestion, saying he was sorry for his comment.

While saying he fully support any action to be taken against rapists, the lawmaker said he was sorry for using words that he should not have used, adding that there was no reason good enough for any woman to be raped.

He admitted making a mistake and offending the sensibility of Nigerians, especially women but asked the members not to also forget that he suggested a death sentence for rapist during the sitting.

He said as the man who represents the abducted Chibok girls in the House, he should not be seen supporting rape in any form, pointing out the mode of dressing cannot be an excuse for rape.

He said as a father and husband, he owed it a duty to defend the rights of women and appealed to members of the House, especially the female lawmakers to forgive him.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila commended the two lawmakers for the courage to apologise publicly for their comment, saying with their apology, the issue has been laid to rest.

No fewer than 47 members of the House of Representatives disobeyed a resolution of the House to dress in black in solidarity with rape victims across the country.

The House had, on June 4, resolved to wear black in their next sitting.

Among the lawmakers who jettisoned the resolution were the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase (APC-Plateau), and the Majority Leader, Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano).

Other defaulters are the Majority Whip, Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno), and the Chairman, Rules and Business Committee, Abubakar Fulata (APC-Jigawa).

While the deputy speaker wore an ash ‘Agbada’, the majority whip and the chairman rules and business appeared in white “agbada.”

The majority leader of the house wore dark blue “agbada”, while many other members wore different colours including the spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia).

The House was adorned with posters which read: “Reps Say No to Rape”.

Oyo govt calls for synergy on fight against rape

The Oyo State government on Tuesday called on all citizens to join the fight against rape.

Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion Alhaja Faosat Sanni spoke with reporters in Ibadan.

Alhaja Sanni described the cases of Azezat Shomuyiwa, a pregnant postgraduate student of the University of Ibadan, Social Work department, Faculty of Education and that of 18years old Barakat Bello, a part-one student of Federal College of Animal Health and Production, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, who were raped and murdered in their respective homes at Akinyele Local Government Area as worrisome and disturbing.

“We are really saddened about the events and we empathise with the families concerned and our dear students in the state, we want to use this opportunity to call on the people throughout the nation because we have seen that rape cases are daily reported across the nation, people should not abandon rape victims to their fates.

“There should be conscious efforts by us all to support victims, we have the police stations around us to report to, we can also approach NGOs that will take up the cases on behalf of the victims for free.

“Azzezat and Barakat are promising women whose lives were cut short at their prime and as a Ministry, we have been fighting against all forms of violence against women and children who are the most vulnerable in our society.

“We collaborate with security agencies and other relevant ministries to ensure that there is zero tolerance to all forms of gender-based violence and sexual abuse against women and children.

“Presently, Oyo State House of Assembly is set to revisit existing laws on sexual violence to visit stiffer and harsher punishment on the perpetrators of the evil acts,” she said.

Nasarawa Assembly to enact stringent law against rape

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly will enact a stringent law against rape in the state, its Speaker, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi said yesterday.

Balarabe-Abdullahi spoke when he received Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, the former Amirat of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) who led protesters to the House.

He said the law would not only protect the women against rape but would also punish the criminals to serve as a deterrent to others.

“We are indeed aware of this crime going on across the country. It is sad, unfortunate and must be condemned by all.

“We share your concern, your pains, as this act is unholy and ungodly but some people still engage in it.

“Cases of rape are at alarming in the country. What is happening to our mothers, wives, daughters is sad and unfortunate.

“We are going to do everything humanly possible, especially in the area of legislation and we will make stringent recommendations against rapist to serve as a deterrent to others, ” he said.

Commissioner for Women Affairs Hajiya Halima Jabiru restated the state government’s commitment towards tackling rape and other crimes against women and children in the state.

Hajiya Ahmed, who is the former SSG, said that they were at the assembly to seek the support of the House in the area of legislation against rape.

She expressed concern on the alarming rate of rape in the country and called for a collective effort to tackle it.

Women groups protest rape, gender violence in Bayelsa

Different gender-based women organisations in Bayelsa State yesterday took to the major streets of Yenagoa, the state capital, to protest against the increasing cases of rape and other gender-based violence in the state.

The women coalition, under the auspices of the Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT), raised the alarm during their protest that no fewer than 58 cases were reported in two months of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The protesting women marched through the popular Mbiama-Yenagoa road, brandishing different placards with inscriptions, ‘Stop the violence against women’, ‘Say NO to Rape’, Rape a girl, rape a nation’ , among others.

They finally stopped at the Bayelsa State House or Assembly complex to ventilate their grievances to the lawmakers and to make a clarion call for the domestication of Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) law passed by the National Assembly since 2015.

Speaking after the protest march, the Convener of GRIT, Mrs Maria Olodi, said the state needed proactive measures to curb the rising cases of rape, sexual assaults, gender-based violence and other crimes against the girl-child and women.

Olodi, who spoke on the premises of the state Assembly, said recently three underaged girls of between 13 and 14 years were raped in the state while many unreported cases still abound.

She urged the lawmakers to domesticate the Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) law passed by the National Assembly since 2015.

Minister, governors’ wives to brief NGF on growing rape, domestic violence cases

Women Affairs Minister, Pauline Talen and Nigeria Governors Spouses Forum (NGSF) leader Erelu Bisi Fayemi are to brief governors today on the increasing cases of rape and violence against women in the country.

Both women are scheduled to make presentations on the issues at the 10th teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) slated for 2pm on June 10.

NGF’s spokesman, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo said, in a statement, that the meeting would also consider many national issues ranging from the strategies against the Coronaviirus pandemic, its effect on states’ finances, among others.

The virtual meeting will start at 2pm.

Absence of interpreter stalls arraignment of man accused of raping 4-year old daughter

The absence of an interpreter forced a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Lugbe to put off the planned arraignment of Onyebuchi Ezema, the 35-year-old man charged with raping his four-year-old daughter.

Ezema was, in a one-count charge filed by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), alleged to have raped the daughter at his residence in Lugbe, a suburb of the Abuja metropolis.

He is said to have committed the offence between April 15 and 16, 2020.

The offence, the prosecution said,  is punishable under section one sub section one of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015.

At the mention of the case on Tuesday, Ezema went into the dock, but when asked by a court’s official if he understands English, the defendant said he only understands and speaks Igbo language.

Justice Asmau Akanbi Yusuf then asked the court’s registrar to fetch an Igbo interpreter.

The registrar was unable to get one, following which Justice Yusuf adjourned till June 16 for arraignment.

The judge ordered the registrar to ensure that a neutral interpreter was available on the adjourned date.

Source: The Nation
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