Nigeria: Incessant Rape - Centre Demands Proactive Criminal Justice, Punishment for Perpetrators

Nigerians gather to protest sexual assault and violence against women and girls on June 1, 2020.
4 June 2020

Disturbed by the incessant rape in Nigeria, the Mothers, and Marginalised Advocacy Centre, MAMA Centre has called for criminal justice, stringent punishment and sincere policy to address the poor response to reported cases of rape with subsequent maiming and killing of victims.

Making this call on Wednesday, in a press statement made available to Vanguard, the Executive Director, MAMA Centre, Barrister Ola Onyegbula decried the horrific trend in rape prevalence across the country.

She regretted that despite the increase in cases of rape the response by various authorities including ill-thought commentaries by individuals remains disproportionate.

She said: "We are perturbed that such traumatic and injury-inflicted moments are allowed to drag or go unpunished in most cases without adequate policy response to sanction and bring the perpetrator(s) to justice.

Condemning all forms of rape, Onyegbula said poor policy response in institutionalizing proactive measures, enabling reporting system as well as inadequate judicial interpretation of processes and laws to sanction offenders have continued to pave way for recurring incidence at all levels.

"As rape constitutes violence against women with traumatic injuries and even death of the victims, we demand that reported cases should be publicly condemned and not be treated with levity in all policy response and judicial interpretation.

"We are worried over the deliberate gender disparity in Nigeria systems coupled with a culture of aggression and domination that discourages the mainstream emergence of qualities such as trust, compassion, and gentleness, frequently associated with female virtues, "she added.

She said with the increasing incidence of rape in the country, we are also disappointed at the lack of significant policy response to institutionalise functional rehabilitation systems in support of the survival in seeking solidarity.

"This exacerbates the pro-long deterioration of mental and physical health like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, high blood pressure, and sleep loss.

"We demand strengthened organs for the administration of criminal Justice that respect human rights, women's rights as well as institutionalizing law enforcement and criminal justice structure that does not rely on fear and raw power, but on honour, professionalism, legality, and fairness to all.

We demand prompt reformation of discriminatory laws and policies against women and girl children at all levels."

Ola further called for prompt passage into law, the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, at the Federal and State levels to domesticate the CEDAW and AU Women's Protocol; adoption and full implementation of the Violence against Women Bill at all state levels.

He urged the Federal government to provide effective rehabilitation, recovery and reintegration programmes through medical, psychological and legal services for survivors of rape, adding that

Describing as despicable and unfair views of authorities and individuals against victims of rape, she called for a strengthened capacity of the law enforcement agencies to understand existing policies.

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