THE Nigerian Governors Wives Forum has called for the setting up of special courts to try rape cases so as to speed up the trial of those involved in that vice.
“There is an urgent need to break the culture of silence and stigma which prevents rape victims, especially young girls and infants, from getting justice. We believe special courts will do that faster,” the forum said in a communiqué after a meeting in Abuja.
The communiqué was jointly signed by the Chairperson of Northern Governors Wives Forum, Mrs. Amina Sani Bello of Niger State, and her southern counterpart, Mrs. Besty Obasaki of Edo.
The communiqué read: “We have observed with dismay, the intense levels of violence against women and children in the country.
“As mothers, we empathise with survivors of these heinous acts and urge them to be courageous in speaking up, no matter how long it takes.
“We lend our voices to that of our First Lady, Dr Aisha Buhari, who recently called for action to be taken on the increasing rate at which women and children are being sexually abused in Nigeria.
“On a daily basis, we are inundated with cases of defilement of even babies of six months old. We also receive reports of rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and murders of women and children.”
The governors wives also expressed worries over the frequent sexual attacks on innocent girls and called for action by the relevant security agencies to tackle the problem.
“It is also worrisome that women and children with special needs have become targets of sexual violence.
“We noted with concern that in spite of the existing laws at the federal level such as the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act of 2015, as well as legislations at state level to protect the well-being of women and children, the perpetrators have continued their despicable acts with impunity.
“On rare occasions when incidences of rape are reported, victims are intimidated and shamed into silence.
“ As concerned mothers and citizens, we hereby call on the Inspector General of Police to direct the Nigerian Police to treat rape and defilement cases with speed in order to ensure justice for victims.”
They also called on the Police to ensure adequate measures toward protecting rape victims and their families.
“ We also urge the setting up of Special Offences Courts for rape and defilement cases, and for such cases to be charged to the courts and heard without undue delays,” he added.
They also urged the Minister of Health to ensure the provision of timely, sensitive and comprehensive medical services to victims of sexual violence, pleading that all medical facilities be equipped with Rape Kits and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), to prevent rape victims from contracting HIV.
“It is also our hope that professional counseling services should be made available to sexual violence survivors,” they said.
They also appealed to the relevant stakeholders to facilitate the passage of laws to protect women and children from violence and abuse.
“As wives of governors, we are committed to using our positions to support all efforts aimed at tackling this scourge because Nigerian women and children deserve to live their lives free from abuse of any kind,” the communiqué said. (NAN)
– July 26, 2019 @ 18:18 GMT |