A group of women under the umbrella of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA) has protested alleged out-of-court settlement of a rape case filed at the Ede Magistrate Court, in Osun State, by the family of the rape victim.
The group in a protest letter titled: “RE: Rape Victim in Osun State”, signed by its Leader, Mrs Funmi Falana, and made available to THISDAY, condemned such move by the family, saying the agreement to embark on out-of-court settlement was against the will of the 16 year-old victim.
The group said: “Our attention has been drawn to the rape case involving an Islamic cleric, Abdulrahman, popularly called Al-edewy and a 16-year-old girl, pending before his worship, A.A Olowolagba of the Ede Magistrate Court, Ede Magisterial District, Osun State, where the family of the 16 year-old girl has agreed to settle the case out of court against the will of the rape victim.
“According to our source, the 16-year old girl has vowed to commit suicide if her family insists on settling the matter out of court. It is pertinent to state that rape cases are not crimes against individuals and families alone, but against the state and the society at large, so cases of rape do not fall under the class of cases that can be settled out of court and therefore, this case should not be settled out of court.
“On this premise, Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA) is interested in this case and has decided to hold the brief, monitor and defend the rights of the victim as well as help in rehabilitating and re-instating the victim back to the society”.
WELA however, recommended that the “government makes laws criminalising settlement of rapes out of court. We reiterate that prompt prosecution of rapes will serve as deterrence to potential offenders”.