Hoodlums rape 1,200 girls in Rivers

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Port Harcourt – No fewer than 1,200 girls were allegedly raped in 2012 in Rivers, an NGO, the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, said on Wednesday.

Mr Michael Gbarale, the state Project Officer of the organisation, announced this in Port Harcourt in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“Over 1,200 girls were raped in Rivers state; of this figure, gang rapes were more frequent,” Gbarale said.

Gbarale, who is also the Chairman of Child Protection Network, said 49 cases were reported to the network, while 800 others were treated by ‘’doctors without borders”.

According to him, the remaining figure was reported to other civil society organisations that made up the centre.

The chairman said that out of the 49 cases, 11 were gang rapes, while others were ordinary rape cases.

He said 44 cases were resolved at different police divisions and communities while two were not reported to the police.

He said three persons were convicted in three cases.

He urged the police to support the activities of the NGO and also ensure diligent prosecution of such cases to curb the menace.

He enjoined parents of rape victims to stop collecting money from suspects to avoid protracted litigations and save the victims’ image.

Gbarale advised parents against leaving their daughters in the care of some relatives, noting that most of the suspects were relatives of the victims.

He urged the government and police to establish Child Rights Implementation Committee and Child Rights units.

Gbarale explained that the network was a coalition of NGOs created by UNICEF for children’s interest.

The chairman, however, solicited for adequate logistics to enable it to sustain the campaign against rape and other violent acts against women. (NAN)

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