By Omon-Julius Onabu
Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers has called on relevant authorities to apply the full weight of the law on perpetrators of rape and other gender-based violence in the country.
The advice of the royal fathers was contained in a four-point communiqué issued at the end of a meeting in Asaba, the state capital, where they frowned at the rampant cases of violent attacks on women and the girl-child in the state and the country at large.
The Chairman of the Council and the Obi of Owa, Dr. Emmanuel O. Efeizomor II, who read the communiqué at the end of the quarterly meeting, condemned in strong terms the alarming rate of reported cases of rape in Nigeria.
While condemning the recent cases of rape and murder of innocent and helpless Nigerians, they urged the government at all levels to apply maximum weight of the law as deterrent.
The traditional rulers pledged their unalloyed support for the fight against the anti-social act in its entirety.
They called on the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to handle the issues of rape with a high sense of justice, saying anyone caught in the dastardly act should not be spared but made to face the full wrath of the law.
The communique said: “We call on governments at all levels to come out with more stringent measures to curtail the ugly trend.”
The monarchs encouraged rape victims to speak out, and appealed to lawyers and judges to exercise human face in handling rape related issues to enable perpetrators and their cohorts get quick judgement to act as deterrent to others.
The council also urged its members to adopt whistle blowing measures to arrest and prosecute drug dealers who sell hard drugs to rapists.
They further cautioned against stigmatisation of victims of rape, stressing that the menace of rape should be tackled with utmost seriousness and high sense of commitment by the authorities.
On insecurity, the council of traditional rulers expressed total support for steps so far taken by the state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, to tackle security challenges, and enjoined him to remain steadfast and focused.
They also commended the governor for his development efforts in the last five years of his administration, and pledged their continued support for him towards the actualisation of Okowa’s Stronger Delta Vision.