IGP, Hafiz Ringim
By Damilola Oyedele
Reported cases of rape and sexual molestation of women continue to rise as another girl in Bayelsa State was recently gang-raped by 10 men. Her offence: she refused to show any fear or “respect” to the leader of the gang after meeting him at the waterfront where she had gone to buy fish.
The victim (name withheld), in a live testimony at the launch of the white ribbon campaign by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development in Abuja yesterday, narrated her experience on November 15, 2011.
She stated that even though three of the men had been apprehended by the police, her family had continued to receive death threats.
Weeping, the girl disclosed that some of her family members were already pleading with her to drop the matter and settle with the family of the apprehended men.
This, they claimed, was because they could not afford more money than the N60,000 already spent for her treatment at the Federal Medical Centre in Yenagoa, and for providing “transport money” to the police.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, at the launch, called on private citizens to sponsor bills through legislators in the House to recommend stiffer punishment for rapists and examine the loopholes in existing rape laws.
Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the Speaker promised that the House would associate itself with such bills as there is an urgent necessity to ensure the protection of women and children.
He also advocated the use of religious institutions to campaign against the scourge.
The Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, in his welcome address, lamented that the incidents of rape had continued to rise.
Speaking on the recent rape of a young girl by five men alleged to be students of Abia State University (ABSU), Abdullahi noted that the men had been able to evade arrest and prosecution because the young girl refused to press charges.
“...The victim failed to identify herself. I personally worked closely with the Human Rights Commission on the case, and when she was contacted, she denied that she was raped, so did her family. This has made it impossible to move forward with the case,” he said