By Udora Orizu
The House of Representatives has condemned in its entirety the rising cases of rape and the abuse of civic rights, brutalisation and killing of innocent Nigerians by trigger happy police officers.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House resolved to urge the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, to immediately institute investigations into the cases of Uwa Omozuwa, Tina Ezekwe, as well as other reported cases of violence against women, with a bid to bringing the criminals to justice.
It called on the federal government to launch a more effective campaign against rape and other violence against women and girls.
The House also mandated all members to dress in black at the next sitting, in protest against the death of Omozuwa, Ezekwe and other victims of rape and other fatal violence against women and girls in Nigeria, and against the death of George Floyd and all other victims of racial discrimination and police brutality in the world at large.
These resolutions were passed following the adoption of a motion titled ‘Need to condemn the rising cases of sexual violence and other social vices against women and police brutality: Justice for Uwa Omozuwa, Tina Ezekwe, and others’, sponsored by Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye.
Moving the motion, Agunsoye said women and the girl child are daily exposed to these gender-based violence in Nigeria with negligible statistics of convictions compared to the prevalence of the dastardly acts.
He recalled that on 27th May, Uwa Omozuwa, aged 22, a 100 level student of University of Benin, who went to study in her church hall, was found in a pool of her blood after being raped and killed, and the police in Jigawa State, on the 30th May arrested 11 men (including a 57-year-old man) who lured and raped a 12-year-old minor.
He also recalled that on 23rd May, Tina Ezekwe, aged 17, was shot and killed by two trigger-happy officers of the Nigerian Police Force in a most unprofessional manner in Lagos.
He said: ”The House recalls several recent nationwide media reports of gender-based violence against Nigerian women and girls. Findings show that an alarming 28 per cent of Nigerian women aged between 25 and 29 years have experienced some form of physical violence against them, many of which remain unreported, were not prosecuted or could not secure conviction.
“The most common violence against women and girls are rape, sexual harassment, emotional and psychological violence and socio-economic violence. Cognizant that weak institutions, poor enforcement, poverty and unacceptable social practices contribute to the ugly increase in violence against Nigerian women and girls. The disturbing growing spate of violence against women and girls recorded throughout the country is quite worrying.”
The lawmaker expressed concerns on the fact that Nigeria lack a strong national response to support victims and survivors of violence against women and girls.
He opined that a better government policy and legislative framework is required to stem the rising violence against women as well as improve and support for women development.
Agunsoye added that the House is determined to ensure safety, equality, inclusion and protection of the rights of women and girls in Nigeria.
Adopting the motion, the lawmakers observed a minute silence in honour of the death of Omozuwa, Ezekwe and other girls and women who had died as a result of rape.