By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Plateau State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Sarah Yusuf, has raised the alarm over the increasing rate of rape of minors in the state and appealed to parents of victims to stop covering it up as rape is a criminal offence.
Mrs. Yusuf, who spoke with Sunday Vanguard through the Ministry’s Director of Child Welfare, Mr. Gwamfar Kannap, said it was alarming the increase in the rape of minors by old men.
The Commissioner, who attributed the increase to drunkenness, rituals and other factors, further lamented the unwillingness of parents and relations of victims to come forward with timely information due to fear of stigmatization, ignorance and shame despite series of sensitization campaign.
She stated that in recent months, the ministry received reports of over 10 cases involving girls between the ages of five and 15 with the suspected rapists being between the ages of 30 and 70.
Mrs. Yusuf added that it was worrisome that the nefarious act was not limited to tribe or religion.
“It is alarming the rate of reported cases of rape of minor in the state in recent weeks. We never really have this problem in the past, this is a new phenomenon and it is becoming a problem for us.
“Many factors are contributing to it. The issue of traditional medicine, some believe that if you have HIV and you sleep with a girl that is a virgin, you will be cured. Some see that as a way of advancing their political ambitions. There are the issues of poverty and drugs we need to also be addressed”, the commissioner said.
Meanwhile, she stressed: “So far, one person has been successfully prosecuted and jailed, seven cases are pending in various courts and three persons are currently in detention.”
Plateau State Police Command, through the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Abuh Emmanuel, confirmed there has been increase in the reports of rape cases from across the state.