The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ebonyi branch has called on stakeholders to review enacted laws in tackling increasing Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The stakeholders are Chief Judge of the Ebonyi, Justice Anselm Nwaigwe, Nigeria Police, and Attorney-General of the state, Mr. Cletus Ofoke.
The FIDA Chairperson, Mrs. Grace Chima made the call on Thursday in Abakaliki, during a campaign for prompt action in curbing the increase of rape in the state and the country.
Chima stressed that full implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law, Child Rights Law and other related laws would address the incessant abuse and sexual molestations of women and children.
She attributed the trend to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The rape cases are alarming and annoying. We are campaigning to curb the trend, sensitising the public, and perpetrators about the enacted laws.
“Ignorance is not an excuse because it is now our collective agreement to expose any rapists,” the FIDA chairperson said.
She appealed to the state government, stakeholders, traditional rulers for collective efforts in the fight to stop the menace.
Nwaigwe promised that such rape cases would be directed to family magistrate and family high courts to be handled appropriately.
He encouraged FIDA to continue in the fight against the trend and always present cases properly when representing their clients.
“We will ensure that such cases are assigned to those courts to be handled properly and on our part as a judge, we will do the needful as well,” Nwaigwe said.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the state promised to install desk officers in the ministry of justice to handle and give the needed attention to the rising cases in the state.
Ofoke, while explaining the content of the VAPP law, noted that rape was life imprisonment against any offender.
“Cases of rape and other forms of violence against women are alarming and no culprits will go unpublished,’’ he said.
Also, the Commissioner of Police, Philip Maku, while addressing FIDA during their visit to the command assured that the law would be fully implemented to fight the menace diligently and secure conviction that would serve as a deterrent to offenders.
Maku appealed to the public to report cases and give useful information to address the incidents.
Mr. Roy Umahi, a major stakeholder in the justice sector frowned at the increasing rate of rape cases and tendencies of compromise on the issue.
Umahi called on lawyers in the ministry of justice and private practice to do the needful in curbing the trend in the society.
“Authorities should also give a specific time limit in the dispensation of justice,” Umahi said.
The event featured campaign with inscriptions, “Save the girl child’’; “Do not view women as sex toys;’’ “Say no to rape among other messages to end the trend.