By Innocent Anaba
A civil society group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP, has called on the Federal Government, the Nigeria Police Force and relevant agencies to take urgent action to tackle the rising cases of sex crimes in the country.
LEDAP in a statement, on Monday by its Legal Officer, Chioma Azolike, said “We strongly condemn the recent rape incidents in various parts of Nigeria and call on the Federal Government, the Police and relevant agencies to take urgent action to tackle the rising cases of sex crimes in the country.
“It can be recalled that on May 27, 2020, Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22 year old Microbiology student of the University of Benin was raped and brutalized in her empty church building where she had gone to study. She was rushed to the hospital by the security guard who found her lying unconscious in a pool of blood but she succumbed to death on May 30, 2020.
“Just days after this, Barakat Bello, an 18 year old student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Ibadan, was reportedly raped to death at her Ibadan residence.
“The above victims are just two out of the very many girls and women who have suffered rape and sexual violence in Nigeria over the past few years. The female gender in Nigeria has become more and more vulnerable, with a large number of them susceptible to physical and sexual violence.
“Nigeria is a signatory to many international and regional human rights treaties which protects the rights of women to dignity and freedom from all kinds of violence. Also, Chapter Four of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) specifically provides for fundamental human rights. However, it is sad that the female gender is still being subjected to varying degrees of physical and sexual violence.
“We therefore, call for the speedy domestication of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) 2015 in the 36 states of the Federation, as well as the domestication of the Child Rights Act 2003 in the States that are yet to do so. This is in order to afford further and effective protection to the female gender in Nigeria. It is hoped that with the speedy domestication of the VAPP Act 2015 and the Child Rights Act 2003 in all states of the Federation, there will be an extreme reduction of rape incidents in the country.
“LEDAP therefore, calls on the Federal Government and the Police to take drastic steps to ensuring that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against Vera Omozuwa and Barakat Bello are apprehended and brought to face the full wrath of the law.
“LEDAP also strongly urges the Police to ensure that rape offenders are prosecuted fully, whether or not the families of the victims are interested in out of court settlement. This will act as a deterrent to prospective rape offenders.
“We call on the Government, the Police and relevant agencies to make concerted efforts in preventing and forestalling future occurrence as well as in upholding the rights of the Nigerian female gender to dignity and liberty.”