By Charly Agwam, Bauchi
The Commissioner for Justice, Bauchi State, Yakubu Bello Kirfi has attributed the increase in rape cases to the lockdown nationwide occasions by the spread of Coronavirus.
The Commissioner who was speaking during a courtesy visit by Attal Sisters Helping Hands Foundation, (ASHH Foundation) and other civil society organizations in Bauchi on Friday, said the government is taking to ensure that those who are found wanting will not go unpunished.
“We know that the infringement on women rights has been existing for some time. It’s not a new thing in our society. Although in the past, I think it wasn’t as serious as what we are currently facing. I am sure there are some contributory factors that made the number of rape cases to skyrocket to what we have now. It is not peculiar to Bauchi state, it’s a nationwide problem.
“Unfortunately, we are right in the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic, and the lockdown measures put in place in Bauchi and other places in the world has brought another dimension to the violation of women’s right. Our government will be taking certain measures to ensure that those found wanting will not go unpunished.
Presenting the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act draft bill, the Executive Director of the Foundation, Comfort Attal urged the Commissioner who is also the Attorney General of Bauchi state to forward the bill to the legislative and executive arms of government for the domestication of the Act in the state.
She said, “We are devastated at the escalating reports of violence against women and girls in Bauchi State and Nigeria at large. Since the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic, the number of calls to hotlines from violated persons have increased by 50 per cent.
“In the past week, 16 years old girl was abducted and ganged raped in Bauchi state. Uwa was raped and killed in a church in Benin, l’inu was shot and killed in Lagos, and a 13-year-old girl was raped by 11 men in Jigawa. Baracut was raped and stabbed to death. And these are only a few reported in the news. We need justice, we need a state of emergency declared today.
“We are urging you to speak out for the rights of our children and women, and to forward this draft bill to the executive and legislature so that Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Bauchi state will become a thing of the past.”