By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
A non-governmental organisation, BraveHeart Initiative (BHI) on Monday led a mass protest in Igarra, headquarters of Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo state where it decried incessant rape cases in the area.
The protest which had in attendants Civil Society Organisations, Security Agencies, Religious groups, Students, Commercial Bike Riders and Council workers, was led by the Executive Director, BHI, Ms Priscilla Usiobaifo.
She said 24 cases of rape have been reported between January and October 11 this year alone.
She said one of the cases involved a nine years old (name withheld) who was raped by her neighbour in June and died on August 29 as a result of complications arising from her rape.
The suspect was only reportedly arrested a few days ago by vigilante groups in one of the communities
The procession stopped over at the popular Igarra market where they admonished the people about incidences of rapes and its inherent danger, and also made a brief stopover at the Divisional Police Headquarters at Igarra.
At the local government area secretariat where the protesters were received by the council chairman, Don Umoru, Usiobaifo said; “Girls or women have rights to safety at all times.
“As of October 11, no fewer than 24 cases have been reported to my NGO alone beside the ones to other security agencies, and these cases are just within Akoko – Edo alone.
“These cases of rape have assumed another dimension within the last two years; the rapist started with older women then graduated to middle-aged women, and now with girls less than 17 years of age.”
She concluded by demanding for the declaration of emergency on rape in the local government.
On his part, Umoru who was represented by the leader of the legislative arm of the council, Samuel Oyewole promised that the council would do the needful to address the issue of rape in the area.