Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Women Situation Room Nigeria, a civil society group, yesterday staged a peaceful protest in Enugu against what it called rising incidences of rape and defilement â€Žof babies and children in Nigeria.
The group expressed dismay that the situation had become alarming and therefore worrisome.
Marching round Enugu State capital, the group decried the obvious lack of persecution of rapists and defilers.
The women carried placards to the state government house, the state Ministry of Gender Affairs as well as to the state House of Assembly, where they submitted their protest letters. Some of their placardsâ€Ž read: â€˜Say No to Rape; Stop rape and Child Abuse; The safety of our Women and Children is our Priority; We want Justice, say No to Violence against Women.â€™
They said rape and defilement have far reaching effect on the survivors and victimsâ€™ families and urged the state government to domesticate law against rapeâ€Ž. Leader of the protesting group in Enugu, Oluchi Eze, said the Women Situation Room Nigeria in partnership with Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Abuse, AADVA, facilitated the Sit-Out protest.
Eze noted that the recent defilement and death of a 14-year-old girl necessitated the protest, which she disclosed took place in nine states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
â€œThere is a law against rape and defilement at the federal level- VAAP Act.
In Lagos State, the law stipulates life imprisonment or jail not less than 14 years with adequate financial compensation.
â€œYet culture of silence and shame, religious interferenceâ€Ž and official inaction has interfered with the justice system. We are calling on the government to do something against this,â€ Eze said.
The state Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Princess Peace Nnaji, told the protesters that she had pushed for passage of Child Rights laws when she was in the House of Representatives, promising to do same in the state.
Nnaji stated that both Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and his wife, Monica, have seriously worked for protection of women and children through the domestication of the Child Rights Act in the state.