With increasing cases of rape and murder of women and girls across Nigeria, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has called on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, to declare a state of emergency on Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

In a statement issued by the Country Director of AAN, Ene Obi, the group wants rape to be declared a crime without an option of bail or out-of-court settlement, and has called for the nation to take serious actions before women and girls across Nigeria are left helpless and vulnerable.

Obi said, ‘Since the lockdown in March 2020 as a result of the [Covid-19] pandemic, [AAN] and her partners have documented a total of 253 cases of [GBV] in Bauchi, Cross River, Enugu, Kebbi and Kwara States. We have never been more alarmed about the cases of [GBV] in Nigeria than in recent times. Girls, women, young and old now live in fear as they are no longer safe even in their own homes’.

Citing recent cases of 18-year-old Jennifer who was gang-raped by five men in Kaduna, a 15-year-old girl repeatedly raped by four men in Bauchi, a 12-year-old girl raped by 11 men at different times in Jigawa, and the most recent case of 22-year-old Uwavera Omozuwa who was raped and murdered while reading in a church near her home in Benin, the group stressed that GBV has become a national issue that should be treated with urgency.

Obi added, ‘As a community-rooted organisation, we have documented cases [of] men violating their daughters and we attest to the fact that this list is non-exhaustive as more cases are reported almost daily and we worry for the safety of Nigerian girls and women as even our grandmothers are not spared’.

Commending the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) for the arrest and investigation of some of the perpetrators, the group, however, urged that these efforts are not enough; they no longer serve as a deterrent as most of the cases are being settled out of court, leaving survivors and their families without real justice.

Source: Premium Times

Photo source: United Nations Photo

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