Rape: NGF Asks All Governors To Domesticate Child Rights Act, Others

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called on its members to domesticate the Child Rights Act, updated Penal Code, and Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act.

It explained that this was important to tackle the alarming rate of rape and other forms of sexual violence in various parts of the country.

This formed part of the resolutions reached at the 10th COVID-19 teleconference of members of the Forum which held on Wednesday.

According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the governors resolved to declare a state of emergency on sexual and gender-based violence.

They condemned violence against women and children and warned that offenders would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The Forum stressed that the domestication of relevant gender-based protection laws would increase protection for women and children.

It added that such a step would ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators, in addition to creating a sex offenders’ register to name and shame the culprits.

The meeting also deliberated on the public hearing on the proposed Control of Infectious Disease Bill, 2020 at the House of Representatives.

In their resolutions, the governors maintained that states should be conferred with the powers to declare any place within their territory an infected area.

They also sought to make regulations and directives towards prevention and further spread of an infectious disease within the state, in addition to having the powers to establish Centres for Disease Control.

The governors, therefore, called for a review of the discretionary powers of the President and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as contained in the proposed bill.

They condemned some portions of the bill which they said violated the human rights of the people and highlighted the potential contraventions with the nation’s Constitution.

Read the full communique issued at the end of the NGF meeting below:

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, deliberated on a number of issues affecting the country especially the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The NGF Chairman provided an update on:

The Forum’s meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.

The team of governors discussed the implications of the contentious Executive Order #10, which among others mandates the allocation of appropriated funds to the State Legislature and State Judiciary in the State appropriation laws in the annual budget of the State as a First Line Charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.

The delegation of Governors, led by himself, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, and his Kebbi State counterpart, Abubakar Bagudu, represented the Forum;

The public hearing on the proposed Control of Infectious Disease Bill, 2020 at the House of Representatives (Committee on Healthcare Services) which he attended with the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, on behalf of the Governors.

The Forum also received updates and presentations from:

The Governor of Delta State Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Chairman of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to provide a coordinated strategy for the Federal and State governments to relax the COVID-19 lockdown;

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF), Suleiman Abba (IGP, Rtd) on the Police Trust Fund (PTF) which is a special intervention fund established by the Police Trust Fund Act to provide funds for, inter alia, the training and welfare of personnel of the Nigeria Police Force;

The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen who addressed members on the rising case of rape and gender-based violence in the country which has escalated threefold since the enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown;

The World Bank Team lead by the Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, who gave an update to members on the US$750m additional financing under the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Program for Results.

Thereafter, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum resolved as follows to:

Congratulate Mr. President for the decision to postpone the formal publication of Executive Order #10 of 2020 in the Official Gazette to enable further consultations among all stakeholders;

Through the NGF Committee led by the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, continue meeting with the delegation of the Conference of Speakers and other stakeholders to work out modalities for resolving all concerns regarding Executive Order #10 amicably;

Reiterate the position of members that the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 takes into account the crucial role of State Governments within Nigeria’s federal system in responding to pandemics in the country.

Specifically, State Governors should be conferred with the powers, among others to, declare any place within their State an infected area; make regulations and directives towards prevention and further spread of an infectious disease within the State; establish States’ Centres for Disease Control; the discretionary powers of Mr. President and the Director-General as contained in the proposed Bill should be reviewed; Finally, while cautioning on certain human rights violations in the proposed Bill, Governors also highlighted potential contraventions with the Nigerian Constitution;

Endorse the work of Governor Okowa’s Committee to consolidate measures to gradually open the formal and informal sectors of the economy, especially agricultural activities in rural areas, manufacturing (including the distribution of goods across States), markets, construction, hotels, and restaurants (takeaways only), and worship centres based on existing COVID-19 protocols;

Agree with the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) to prioritise government’s response in hotspots across the country that account for the largest share of COVID-19 cases.

Governors are encouraging citizens who have COVID-19 symptoms to go for testing to ensure that they receive timely care and that their families are protected from being infected. States are already working with the PTF to ensure that there are operational testing laboratories in each State;

Call on each State government to develop a strategy for opening its economy based on the guidelines agreed to by the PTF and the NGF. So far, success has been recorded in improving the supply and availability of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), with five companies certified by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to locally produce PPE;

Pass a vote of confidence on the newly appointed Chairman of the Police Trust Fund to steer a responsive and responsible Police Force and called on him to ensure that the composition of the PTF Board is representative of the country’s diversity;

Advise the Chairman of the Police Trust Fund to seek legal advice on the funding sources of the organisation as the current arrangement in its Act which amongst others, sources its funding from 0.5% of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account violates the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution;

Declare a State of Emergency on Sexual and Gender-based Violence. Governors strongly condemned all forms of violence against women and children and committed to ensuring that offenders face the maximum weight of the law;

Call on State Governors that have not already domesticated relevant gender-based protection laws to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, the Child Rights Act, and the updated Penal Code to increase protection for women and children and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators in addition to creating a ‘sex offenders register’ in each State to name and shame;

Invite the Commissioners of Police to provide a detailed report on the actions taken to strengthen their response to sexual and gender-based violence through the Family Support Units and Force Gender Units at the State and Local Government levels. Governors will commit additional funding for the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence through appropriate Ministries, Departments, and Agencies;

Endorse the Communique of the meeting of the First Ladies in Nigeria which held on 7th June 2020 to evaluate and mobilise action to check the alarming rate of sexual violence against women and girls and indeed all forms of violence against women;

Commend the World Bank on the provision of US$750m additional financing for the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability Programme for Results (SFTAS). State Governors pledged to ensure that their Ministries of Finance, Budget and Planning are positioned to access available funding to strengthen the COVID-19 response of State governments;

Endorse the recommendations of the NEC Ad-Hoc committee on COVID-19 which highlights key public health and macroeconomic actions for the Federal and State governments – many of which States are already implementing.

Governor Kayode Fayemi

Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

10th June 2020

Court Frees Girl Accused Of Murdering 51-Year-Old Man Who Attempted To Rape Her

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

A Magistrates’ Court sitting in the Yaba area of Lagos has acquitted and discharged a 15-year-old girl accused of murdering her father’s 51-year-old friend who tried to rape her.

Magistrate Philip Ojo struck out the murder charge filed by the police against the Senior Secondary School (SSS) 3 student, following an advice from the office of the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

On March 24, the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) had alleged that the teenager stabbed Mr Babatunde Ishola to death on March 7, 2020.

The incident occurred in his home located at Nwadolu Street, Aboru, Lagos.

READ ALSO: Police Allegedly Push 80-Year-Old To Death In Anambra

Ishola was said to be employed as a guard at a school in the community and lived alone.

The police said the girl’s act contravened Section 225 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.

It obtained an order for the student to be remanded at the Lagos State Correctional Home for Girls, Idi Araba while the case was adjourned for the legal advice from the DPP.

The teenager was represented pro bono by the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD).

At the proceedings today, Magistrate Ojo said the court had received the DPP’s report. He said the report corroborated the facts of the matter as set out in the case file, that that there were “insufficient facts to establish a prima facie case of murder against the suspect.”

The magistrate then acquitted and discharged the minor.

The Director of the OPD, Dr. Jide Martins expressed satisfaction with the verdict. He said that “the professionalism, diligence and timely advice of the DPP on the matter made it possible for the girl to be released, because no prima facie case was established against her.”

“I appeal to anyone that has suffered any form of rights denial, abuse and violence to visit any of the OPD office nearest to him or her for free legal service,” Martins added.

The teenager’s parents who also spoke after the judgment, thanked the Lagos state government and OPD for coming to their rescue with free legal services.

Bill To Protect Rape Victims Passes Second Reading At Senate

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The Senate is enacting critical legislation to protect victims of rape against any form of stigmatization in the country.

The bill, titled ‘Rape and Insurgency Victims Stigmatization (Prohibition) Bill 2019’, scaled second reading during Wednesday’s plenary session.

The bill provides for the prosecution and punishment of any person or group of persons who stigmatizes such victims.

Leading the debate on the bill, the Sponsor of the legislation, Senator Mohammed Musa, said if passed into law, the bill will encourage victims of rape to testify in court and also ensure the re-integration of victims of insurgency into the community of their choice.

Senator Musa said the conditions most victims of rape are exposed to are traumatic and blames this on what he describes as the ineptitude of the Nigerian justice system.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has referred the bill to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative work.

The Committee, which is chaired by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central), is expected to submit its report back to the Senate in four weeks.

“Presently, rape is now a common phenomenon and occurs worldwide. In fact, available data suggests that in some countries one in five women report sexual violence or being raped by an intimate partner and up to a third of girls report forced sexual initiation. This also cuts across diverse age range of victims ranging from young toddlers and children to even older victims aged 70 years old, with over seventy percent of the victims under 19.

“The bill is to provide for the legal and institutional framework for the protocol for re-integration of victims of rape and insurgency in Nigeria. If this bill is passed into law, it would certainly provide a new lease of life for victims of rape and insurgency in the country”, Musa said.

The lawmaker who bemoaned the trauma which most victims of rape suffer and are exposed to in the country, blamed the development on what he described as the “ineptitude” of the Nigerian justice system.

“The justice system in Nigeria is incredibly inept and for rape cases, this is even more traumatic,” Musa said. “A rape victims goes to the police to report and the policeman or woman tells the victim to go and sort it out at home as it is a domestic case. And the consequences of such act is that the victim is left at the mercy of the society without any protection.

“This sort of stigma has prevented many survivors from reporting abuse and seeking justice. Victims of insurgency and other violent acts needs this kind of laws that will not only promote gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls as fundamental to all efforts to prevent and address sexual violence, but also progressively uplift such victims.”

He added: “We are all living witnesses to the upsurge of the criminality of rape and the destruction of lives been perpetrated by those coward criminals in our communities, coupled with the fact that our country has an extremely low conviction rate for rape and sexual abuses despite the increase in violence against women in recent years”, he added.

NAPTIP Proposes Establishment Of Special Court For Sexual Offenders

File Photo

 

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), is proposing the establishment of special courts in the country to try sexual offenders.

According to the Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Donli-Okah, the special courts will allow for speedy trial of all persons accused of rape.

The NAPTIP DG made the comments at a media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

She also expressed concerns over the non-adoption of the Violence Against Persons Act by state governments, noting that such states are inadvertently promoting sexual violence in their domain.


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Governors To Meet Over Rape, NCDC Bill, Other Issues

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

 

Members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) will meet on Wednesday over the alarming rate of rape and other forms of sexual violence, among other critical issues in the country.

The Head of Media and Public Affairs at the NGF secretariat, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, announced this in a statement on Tuesday.

He noted that the meeting would be the 10th teleconference of the governors since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria.

According to the statement, the governors will receive memoranda from various groups, including a statement from the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum headed by the wife of the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi.

Bello-Barkindo said the governors’ wives would brief the Forum on violence against women and children that have become a matter of national emergency.

He revealed that the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has been invited to interface with the governors on critical gender issues, as well as the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to brief them on the Police Trust Fund.

The NGF secretariat spokesperson explained that the meeting would also review the COVID-19 situation in the various states and advance more pragmatic ways of dealing with the pandemic, going forward.

Other issues to be discussed at the meeting include an update on Executive Order 10, a brief from a subcommittee that was assigned to engage the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 headed by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, among others.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, is also expected to present the report of his committee set up in March at the last NEC meeting to review the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy for endorsement.

The statement said, “The state governors will also take a peek into such issues as the World Bank Cares programme, the public hearing on the NCDC Bill 2020, the progress made on the refunds to states on FAAC deductions, the restructuring of states’ loans by the CBN Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele, and the reimbursements for construction of Federal Roads to states like Rivers, Bayelsa, Ondo, Osun, Cross River etc.

“Also on the agenda is a briefing on the CACOVID Distribution of palliatives and also feedback from States. The NGF is expected to get an update to see whether or not the palliatives have made any impact on the citizenry.”

Police Arrest Man Seen Kissing Minor In Viral Video

 

The Police in Lagos State have arrested a man who was seen kissing a minor in a viral video.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

According to Elkana, the attention of the police was drawn to the video showing one Adeyeye Oluwatosin Babatunde, a Botany student of the Lagos State University, kissing his three years old step sister.

He said the incident happened on June 2, 2020, at their residence in Shagamu, Ogun State and after being informed the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu tasked detectives from the Gender Unit to analyse the video and apprehend the suspect.

“The team got the suspect on 5/6/2020 at about 1100 hours. He is handed over to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba for diligent prosecution in court,” the statement read.

The Commissioner, therefore, appreciated those who helped in bringing the incident to their notice.

He also urged everyone to continue to speak out against sexual abuse and gender-based violence in order to bring an end to such.

This comes days after the news of the rape and murder of several girls surfaced, sparking national outrage.

One such cases is the murder of a 100-level student of the Department of Microbiology in the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Vera Uwaila Omozuwa.

Read Also: Sexual Violence: Reps Vote Against Castration As Punishment For Rapists

The 22-year-old student was reported to have been raped inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, the Edo State Capital.

The men were reported to have struck her in the head with a fire extinguisher after raping her and left her for dead. She was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where she later died.

In like manner, other cases of rape of minors have been recorded in Oyo and Jigawa states all within the space of two weeks.

While the state and federal governments have vowed to ensure justice is served, the incidents have over the past week sparked conversations about the value of the girl child and the how the subject of rape and all forms of abuse appear to be trivialized in the country.

Fayemi Signs Bill On Children Sexual Violence

 

Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi has signed into law a bill making treatment and care compulsory for child victims of sexual abuse.

While signing the bill on Friday at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, Governor Fayemi lamented the rising cases of sexual abuse in the state and said there was a need for legal reviews to prioritize the interest and welfare of victims.

He also called for a more effective prosecution of sex offenders, stressing the need for a national consensus on rape he described as a monster.

READ ALSO: Avoid Worship Centres, Govt Tells Lagos Residents Above 65 Years

With the Sexual Violence Against Children (Compulsory Treatment and Care) Law 2020, a child victim will have rapid access to relevant medical facility for emergency care and infection treatment.

Other provisions include compulsory report of incident to relevant authorities by care givers, safekeeping of records of victims at medical facilities and order of restitution among others.

Ondo Youths Protest, Demand Stiffer Punishment For Rape

Youths in Ondo State protest against the rise in rape cases across the country in Akure on June 5, 2020.

 

 

A group of youths on Friday stormed the streets of Akure, the Ondo State capital in protest against the recent rise in cases of rape in the country.

The youths who were dressed in black and carrying placards with various inscriptions called for justice and stiffer punishment for rapists.

Some of the inscriptions on their placards read: ‘no justification for rape’, ‘real men don’t rape’, ‘no to female brutalisation,’ and ‘end violence against women’.

This followed a series of reports of rape and defilement of minors in the last few weeks in parts of the country.

One of the protesters who spoke with Channels Television, Tolulope Akinfiresoye, decried the increase in the rate at which such crimes were committed.

She appealed to the government at various levels to take the issue of rape seriously by ensuring offenders do not escape justice, to serve as a deterrent to other offenders.

Akinfiresoye, however, called on girls and women to always dress properly to prevent them from getting attracted to rapists.

 

Another protester, Ayanfe Adeyemi, called for the creation of awareness on the dangers and consequences of rape in the society.

He insisted that indecent dressing by some ladies was not an excuse to be raped as people should learn to control their sexual desire.

On his part, Joshua Ogunmola was of the opinion that anyone found to have committed rape should be castrated, saying this would definitely put an end to the heinous act in the society.

Police Arrest Man Over Rape Of 70-Year-Old Woman In Ogun

Police-Policeeeee
A file photo of a police patrol van.

 

 

The police have arrested a young man, Wasiu Bankole, accused of raping a 70-year-old woman in the Agbado area of Ogun State.

In a statement on Thursday, the Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the 25-year-old suspect committed the crime two days ago in Ifo Local Government Area of the state.

He explained that the arrest followed a report by the victim herself at the Agbado Divisional Police Headquarters.

According to the statement, the woman was sleeping in her house on Tuesday evening when the suspect suddenly broke into her room, held her down and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her.

She was said to have been rescued by a neighbour while Bankole reportedly ran away from the scene, leaving his clothes and shoes in her room.

Oyeyemi stated that some police operatives were immediately sent after the suspect who was apprehended barely a day after the incident.

During interrogation, he said Bankole confessed to committing the crime but claimed to have acted under the influence of alcohol.

The command spokesman noted that the victim has been taken to a hospital for treatment and the Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson, has ordered that the suspect be transferred to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation and diligent prosecution.

Alleged Rape: Jigawa Govt Vows To Prosecute 11 Suspects

Jigawa Governor, Badaru Abubakar gives an update on the alleged rape of a minor during a press conference in Dutse, the State capital on June 3, 2020.

 

The Jigawa State Government has vowed to prosecute all the 11 suspects involved in the alleged rape of a 12-year-old minor.

Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday in Dutse, the state capital, Governor Badaru Abubakar said his administration will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is served.

“My Attorney General is always the lead counsel in prosecuting rape charges. In this case, he is actively aware, the police are aware.

“We will leave no stone unturned until we bring those people to justice. It is bad and it is bad,” the governor said.

READ ALSO: #JusticeForUwa: IGP Directs Force-CID To Take Over Investigations

Governor Abubakar explained that information at his disposal revealed that the minor was not gang-raped, stressing that she rather had intercourse with different people at different times.

“I was made to understand that it was not gang rape at the same time. It was an incident of sexual intercourse with a minor at different times with different people.

“It was not like they raped her at once, 12 or 14 people. No, I think she has been going around different people who are molesting and taking advantage of under-aged (girls),” he said.

#JusticeForUwa: IGP Directs Force-CID To Take Over Investigations

File Photo of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu.

 

The Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Mohammed Adamu,  has ordered the immediate transfer of the ongoing investigations into the inhuman sexual assault and death of Miss Vera Uwaila Omosuwa which occurred recently in Benin, Edo State, from the Police Headquarters in Benin to the Force headquarters in Abuja.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Dcp Frank Mba, on Tuesday.

The directive follows a preliminary report from the team of investigators and forensic experts who were earlier deployed to assist the Police in Edo State in the investigations into the unfortunate incident.

According to the statement, the DIG in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), DIG Anthony Ogbizi Michael, fdc will henceforth provide direct supervision and ensure speedy and thorough investigation of the case.

In a similar vein, the IGP also ordered the immediate deployment of specialized investigators and additional investigation assets to all the Gender Desks Offices and the Juvenile Welfare Centres (JWC) across the country.

Read Also: #JusticeForTina: Police Commence Disciplinary Procedures Against Two Indicted Officers

This, according to the Police boss, is to strengthen and enhance the capacity of the units to respond to increasing challenges of sexual assaults and domestic/gender-based violence linked with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and other social ills within the country.

Meanwhile, the IGP has called on members of the public to provide the police with useful information that could aid investigations into ongoing cases of sexual assaults and domestic/gender-based violence across the country.

He also enjoined parents and guardians to pay closer attention to their children and wards in these trying times.

Senate Asks FG To Campaign Against Rape, Abuse Of Female Gender

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate

 

The Senate is asking the Federal Government to campaign against rape and abuse of female gender in the country.

This formed part of the resolutions of the lawmakers following a motion raised by Senator Sandy Onoh during plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.

Senator Onoh condemned the rape and murder of 22-year-old Uwaila Omozuwa, a 100-level student of the Department of Microbiology, University of Benin (UNIBEN).

Omozuwa was reported to have been raped on May 27, inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The suspects were reported to have struck her on the head with a fire extinguisher after raping her.

Senator Onoh also condemned the killing of a teenage girl, Tina Ezekwe, by a policeman in Lagos last week.

According to him, the brutality and rape cases against the girl child are on the rise and Nigerian girls can no longer live their lives with confidence.

In their resolutions, the Senate resolved to call for the arrest of the perpetrators and mandated the security agencies to employ strategies to check the rising cases of rape.

The lawmakers also urged security agencies to ensure the enforcement of the Child Rights Act.

They further asked the State Houses of Assembly to amend the code to make rape a punishable offence.

The upper chamber also observed a minute of silence in honour of the two girls and others who have been victims of rape.

The news of Uwa’s death has sparked outrage on social media and many have demanded justice with the hashtag #JusticeForUwa.