…….demand thorough investigation, prosecution
A group of lawyers, Human Rights Advocates and Non-Governmental Organisations have called on Inspector General of Police and other relevant law enforcement agencies in the country to accord to priority to rape cases and other violence against women.
The group also demanded thorough investigation and prosecution of those found wanting of violence against women so as to serve as deterrent to other bad elements in the society.
The group made call in Ilorin on Friday (June 5, 2020) during a peaceful protest against the prevalence of violence against women including rape cases in Nigeria.
Speaking during a meeting with Kwara State Commissioner of Police as par of activities for the street protest, the Chief Execeutive Officer of Olive Community Development Initiative (OCDI) Mrs Oluwatoni Adeleke condemned the brutal rape and murder of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa who was raped and murdered in a church building in Edo state and Barakat Bello who was also raped and murdered in Oyo state within a week.
Adeleke, who was represented at the occasion by the OCDI Project Manager, Mrs Mojoyin Adwuyi said these brutal violence and killings have once again brought to the fore the failure of the Nigerian police to successfully investigate and prosecute cases of sexual violence, which she noted has allowed an atmosphere of impunity to fester and contributed to the continued abuse and violence women face regularly in Nigeria.
“So far, the Nigerian police force is yet to properly investigate, arrest suspects and prosecute the rape and violent murder of Uwa Omozua, Barakat Bello, Obiamaka Orakuwe and other Nigerian women and girls who have been brutally violated and murdered recently”
“This failure on the part of the Nigerian police force is disturbing, concerning and repugnant to the principles of due diligence of the state to respond where there has been a breach of fundamental human rights” she said.
Adeleke noted that in the highlighted cases,the Victim’s right to life has been deprived, this she said constitutes a crime under the laws of Nigeria and it must be treated as such. She therefore urged the Inspector General of police to deploy good offices to promptly investigate and prosecute these highlighted cases and all other pending cases across Nigeria.
“We ask that a thorough investigation be carried out with a view to unravel the perpetrators of these dastardly acts and the citizens of this nation be duly informed of the progress made on these cases by the police”she added
“We are a group of lawyers, human rights advocates and non-governmental organisations gravely concerned by the state of the Nation in regard to the abuse, violence, rape and murder of Nigerian women”
“We have received information on the brutal rape and murder of one Vera Uwaila Omozuwa who was brutally raped and murdered in a church building in Benin city, Edo state on the 27th of May 2020. The brutal rape and murder of one Barakat Bello, a 19-year-old girl and student in Ibadan, Oyo State and the fatal killing of one Tina Ezekwe by two men of the Nigerian Police at Iyana Oworo, Lagos state”
“We note that Rape is not only a criminal offence per S. 357 and 358 of the Criminal code Act, S. 258 of the Penal code Act and S. 1 of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act VAPP (2015), it constitutes the breach of fundamental rights to dignity, freedom from inhumane treatment and in many cases as demonstrated above, the violation of the right to life enshrined in chapter 4 of the Nigerian constitution”she explained.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation, Mrs Christiana Oluwole said the Civil society has deemed it fit to come out to ventilate their grievances on incessant cases of rapes and other inhuman treatment against women in the country.
She called for severe punishment for rapists, pointing out that lack of judgment for perpetrators usually led to increase in the recorded cases.
Responding, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Kayode Egbetokun promised to always support the course of the NGOs on any Gender-Based Violence.
Egbetokun the command under his watch has never taken with levity rape or any violence related cases.
Egbetokun disclosed that, the Command was at the verge of inaugurating community Policing committee but for the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.
He stated that committee would be inaugurated which would work together with some members of the NGOs in the state for more effectiveness and efficiency.
In her comment, the state Commissioner for Social Development, Mrs Aremu Abosede Deborah said the issue of rape is very worrisome and disturbing and called on traditional and Religious leaders as well as other relevant stakeholders to join hands with government in a bit to stem the tide of violence against women in the country.
In her response, the Director Child Development, Kwara state Ministry Social Development, Hajia Mariam Yusuf said government alone can not do the sanitization thereby commended and called for more support from various NGOs to ensure the demostication and implementation of Child Right Acts throughout the sixteen local government areas in the state.