Women Lawyers Condemn Rising Rape Cases

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria has raised its voice in condemnation of the rising wave of rape and other gender-based violence in the country, calling on relevant government authorities to rise to the occasion.

The body in a statement issued to journalists and signed by FIDA Nigeria’s Country Vice President/National President, Mrs. Rhoda Tyoden, and National Publicity Secretary, Eliana Martins, lamented that the increasing rate of rape, particular being witness as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, is an indication of how debased the society has become.

“FIDA Nigeria expresses dismay at the continuous rise in gender-based violence cases reported during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Nigeria, often resulting in grievous bodily harm, psychological trauma and even death.

“The facts of the reported cases across Nigeria are heart wrenching.

“The development is indicative of a debased society bereft of a value system that emphasizes safety at home or even in worship centres, from parents, spouse or even police,” the women lawyers said, adding that something drastic must be done immediately as the consequences and effects on the victims and their families have long term negative impact on societ

According to them, “It is unacceptable that the police mandated to arrest and prosecute these criminals are presently not forth coming, leaning on compliance with COVID-19 regulations, which include social distancing in their stations and the decongestion of cells as excuses. They would rather push parties for a prompt settlement and compensation of the victim for an offence, regardless of the severity of such offence.

“The Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015 is a landmark legislation on the prohibition of all forms of violence against persons in Nigeria. The Act prohibits all forms of violence against persons in private and public life, and provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishments of offenders.

“Therefore, all stakeholders should call for a stop against all forms of violence against persons especially women, children and the vulnerable in our society.”

Specifically, the organisation urged the public to closely watch children/wards and protect them from being raped or abused, and that the police should keep open all gender desks at each police station to accommodate reports on domestic violence and make quick responses/intervention when called upon, adding that the police must prosecute all offenders and should not compel settlement of such cases.

FIDA Nigeria, however, expressed its commitment towards the provision of legal support to the vulnerable to ensure that all offenders are brought to justice and adequately punished in line with the law, to serve as a deterrent to others.