Civil groups and other Human Rights organizations such as ActionAid Nigeria, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, Connected Development (CODE) amongst other Civil Society groups in Nigeria all came out in a protest in Abuja yesterday to urge Nigerian Police Force and constituted authorities to declare the Gender Based Violence in Nigeria a State of Emergency and to be conscious of their first mandate which is to secure the lives and properties of the Nigerian citizens.
Speaking at the peaceful protest, ActionAid Nigeria Chairperson, Dr Jummai Ajijola said recurring cases of rape leading to death of the victims that had been recorded in the last few weeks had prompted the protest.
“The recurring cases of rape leading to death of the victims that had been recorded in the last few weeks and its attendant adverse effects on the Nigerian society at large, have prompted this protest today to raise our voices as concerned citizens on the need for authorities to declare issue of rape in Nigeria a state of emergency and its attendant adverse effects on the Nigerian society at large, has prompted this protest today to raise our voices as concerned citizens on the need for authorities to declare issue of rape in Nigeria a state of emergency”.
She noted that Nigeria Police has the duty to protect the lives and properties of the citizens which includes that of women, girls and children, which is considered as their first mandate and they must live up to it by ensuring that rape cases are not trivialized as usual, and by ensuring that all perpetrators of this evil act are used as deterrents for others out there.
On the issues that indecent exposure of bodies by these rape victims being perceived as major cause of increase in rape cases, Ajijola said that should never justify the reason why any man should rape.
“Indecent exposure of body is non-issue here. When we are not animals. Even animals walk around naked yet do not rape themselves like humans do.” She remarked.
Dorothy Njemanze, Founder of Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, who has been the leading voice in the fight against rape, assualt and violation of women’s rights in Nigeria said it’s quite disheartening that despite the passage of Violence Against Person Prohibiting (VAPP) Bill into Law by Nigerian Senate four years ago many states in Nigeria are yet to domesticate these laws as a tool to enable them fight against issues of rapes and assault on women.
“It is sad that only few out of 36 states have considered domestication VAPP Act as legal framework to end issue of rape and frequent assault on women at the state level.
“I have been raped and assaulted before and know the damaging impacts on my life up til now, I know the battle I had to fight for justice. I believe no perpetrator of this evil act be allowed to roam scotfree in our society without being brought to book”
She however, urged Nigerian Police Force and other security operatives to be upright in their duties particularly at ensuring that justice is served whenever perpetrators of rape are reported.