El-Rufai’s Wife, Others March To NASS, Demand Life Imprisonment For Rapists

Members of the Movement Against Rape And Sexual Violence, converge on the Unity Fountain Abuja on July 15, 2020.

 

Members of the Movement Against Rape And Sexual Violence (MARS-V) have converged on the Unity Fountain in the nation’s capital Abuja to demand life imprisonment for rapists.

According to the wife of the Governor of Kaduna State, Mrs Aisha El-Rufai, who is leading members of the group to the National Assembly, the current penalty against rapists is not stringent enough and until stricter penalties are put in place, such incidents may continue to occur.

Just recently, the Minister Of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen, noted that the incidents of rape across the country, especially during the lockdown, rose to about 3,600.


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#JusticeForUwa  #JusticeForBarakat

In May, news of the rape and murder of several girls surfaced, sparking national outrage.

One such case was 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 were recorded at the time, in Oyo and Jigawa states all within the space of two weeks.

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

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on June 4, voted against a prayer seeking to recommend castration as punishment for rapists.

 

 

#JusticeForMaleVictims

 

On July 14, the Senate amended the Criminal Code Act which recommends life imprisonment for kidnappers and deletes the statute of limitations on cases of rape.

Section 218 of the Criminal Code Act (amended) removing the statute of limitations implies that the defilement cases can remain open for as long as possible against the earlier limitation of two months.

The Criminal Code Act Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB.02) was sponsored by Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central Senatorial District) on September 24, 2019.

 

Lawmakers during plenary at the Senate chamber in Abuja (File Photo)

 

The Senate on Tuesday also eliminated the gender restrictions in the offence of rape as Section 357 of the Criminal Code Act defines rape as an offence against women.

It acknowledged that the male gender can also be victims.

Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matter, Opeyemi Bamidele in his presentation, explained that the aim of criminal law and criminal justice system is not only for punishment but also for deterrence, retribution, restoration and rehabilitation of offenders.

Buhari Calls For End To Violence Against Children As World Marks Day Of African Child

File Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari receiving flowers from a girl.

 

As Nigeria joins the international community to celebrate the Day of the African Child, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged that the government would continue to protect children from sexual violence, domestic abuse and exploitation.

The President also reiterated that his administration will continue to ensure that every Nigerian child has access to quality and affordable education by promoting free and compulsory basic education for the first nine years of schooling.

He was quoted to have said this in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina.

Speaking further, the president expressed concerns over the recent spate of sexual and physical violence on the girl-child and therefore, directed relevant government agencies to scale up support for victims of violence and ensure that those who have infringed on their rights face the full weight of our laws.

He affirmed that it is the right of every Nigerian child to be protected from sexual or physical violence and abuse and to enjoy an environment conducive for learning and development.

The President recognises that this year’s commemorative activities with the theme, “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa,” have moved online due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector, he noted that school-age children have been forced to continue education and learning online, as well as through the electronic media.

Recognizing that not all children have access to the tools and resources to do this, the President assured Nigerians that the priority of the Federal Government is to ensure that things get back to normal as soon as possible.

He noted that while dealing with the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government cannot allow education and learning to take the back seat.

The President, therefore, encouraged all Nigerians to take a moment this day to celebrate the African child, who represents a better future for all of us.

“Nigeria is blessed with exceptional and remarkable children and this government is ever ready to help the Nigerian child achieve their dreams and build a better tomorrow,” he said.

PHOTOS: Youths Protest In Abuja, Condemn Sexual Violence

Protesters hold placards and banners in Abuja to raise awareness about sexual violence in Nigeria on June 5, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

A group of youths under the aegis of Coalition for the fight against Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) launched a campaign on Friday against rape and other forms of sexual violence.

The youths, during a protest in Abuja, called for a systemic action against the recent rise in cases of sexual and gender-based violence in parts of the country.

The protesters who were also at the Force Headquarters in the nation’s capital asked citizens to challenge their legislators on what was being done to protect women and girls.

They, however, said they were working with some lawmakers for urgent legislative action.

See the photos below:

Youths protest in Abuja to raise awareness about sexual violence in Nigeria on June 5, 2020. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Lagos Reiterates Zero-Tolerance Stance Against All Forms Of Sexual And Gender-Based Violence

A file photo of Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
A file photo of Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

 

In the wake of increased reports of sexual violence and gruesome deaths, the Lagos State Government has reiterated its zero-tolerance stance against all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, domestic violence, and child abuse.

As evidenced by over 90 convictions of sexual offenses secured in 2019 alone, the Lagos State Government in a communique on Wednesday noted that such inhumane acts would not be tolerated, stressing that it will continue to ensure that the full arm of the law is unleashed on any offender.

READ ALSO: Lagos Govt Launches Community Policing

Coordinator for the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, urged anyone who has experienced either domestic or sexual violence to reach out to the response team via 0906-288-7844 or dial * 6820# to report.

Mrs Vivour-Adeniyi urged all who are victims of these crimes to be strong, she wrote: “We believe you…. You are not alone…There is Hope. #Justice for all survivors”.

#SexForGrades: NHRC Sets Up Panel To Investigate Cases Of Sexual Violence

FILE PHOTO: Women protest on the streets of Abuja following arrests of over 100 women at different in Abuja nightclubs for alleged prostitution.

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is set to investigate cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

Executive secretary of the commission, Toby Ojukwu, while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday said an investigative panel has been set up to look into the cases.

READ ALSO: #SexForGrades: We Are Not Doing Enough To Protect The Girl Child – Kiki Mordi

Ojukwu said the investigative panel is necessary following the arbitrary arrest of women in Abuja by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the BBC documentary which exposed some lecturers demanding sexual relationships from female students in exchange for grades.

He also made reference to the case of 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbanje who died in 2018 due to complications from an alleged rape by a senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic.

“The rising cases of gender-based violence have necessitated the need for a stronger policy and laws to protect the rights of Nigerians especially women and children,” he said.

#SexForGrades: Report Cases Of Abuse, Buhari Urges Victims

Buhari Donates $500,000, Vehicles To Guinea Bissau For Elections
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the cases of sexual violence in tertiary institutions in the country.

He faulted such incidents and appealed to victims not to cover up cases of abuse but report same to relevant agencies.

“Survivors and their families must avoid cover-up,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

He added, “They should be encouraged to come forth and report cases of abuses wherever and whenever they occur.”


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President Buhari was reacting to the recent high profile revelation of sexual abuse cases in institutions of higher learning in the country.

He stressed the need for stricter laws to prevent girls from being abused in schools, noting the incidents at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) which were exposed through an undercover news reporting.

The President stated he was happy that the revelation has spurred an amendment to the nation’s laws regarding the issue in the National Assembly.

He gave assurance that such proposed amendments passed by the Legislature would get his support as long as they conform to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari said, “The country must do more to address incidents of sexual violence, sexual abuses in our schools, discrimination, human trafficking and cultural practices that violate women’s rights.”

He, therefore, urged law enforcement agencies and school administrators to take up such cases with every seriousness and ensure that perpetrators face the consequences of their actions.

Following the emergence of the report, UNILAG authorities had suspended two of their senior lecturers indicted in the 53-minute long video filmed by BBC.

Dr Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Faculty of Arts was suspended on Monday while Dr Samuel Oladipo of the Department of Economics was suspended two days later.

Both lecturers were suspended over allegations of sexual harassment, actions the university said contravened the policy of the institution.

UNILAG authorities have also called on members of staff and students with relevant information concerning the incidents to come forward.

Online Sexual Violence Harming Children, Pope Francis Warns

Pope Francis on Friday urged the world, including the Catholic Church, to face up to the devastating effects of online sexual violence on young people, including extreme pornography and sexting.

“We have to keep our eyes open and not hide from an unpleasant truth that we would rather not see,” Francis said at a gathering of technology executives and health professionals at the Vatican.

Alluding to the paedophile scandals that have rocked the church, he added: “For that matter, surely we have realised sufficiently in recent years that concealing the reality of sexual abuse is a grave error and the source of many other evils?”

In a speech about protecting the dignity of children in the internet era, Francis warned of the spread of extreme pornography, sexting and online bullying as well as sexual exploitation, trafficking and the live-streaming of rape and violence against children.

He also cited evidence of the “profound impact of violent and sexual images on the impressionable minds of children”.

“These problems will surely have a serious and life-long effect on today’s children.”

More than a quarter of the world’s three billion internet users are children, with many adults unable to understand technology that can block and filter disturbing content.

“We would be seriously deluding ourselves if we thought that a society, where an abnormal consumption of internet sex is rampant among adults, could be capable of effectively protecting minors,” he added.

While recognising how the internet has opened up a forum for the freedom of expression and exchange of ideas, he said it has also offered new means for the abuse and corruption of minors.

He said collaboration between governments and law enforcement was needed at a global level to address the problem.

AFP

Angelina Jolie Meets Refugee, Victims Of Sexual Violence In Kenya

Actor and United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie marked World Refugee Day on Tuesday visiting teenage refugee girls in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Hollywood star visited at least 20 of girls in a safe house in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. They had fled conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and Rwanda, UNHCR said in a statement.

It said almost all had experienced sexual and gender-based violence and many had given birth after being raped or were pregnant.

Jolie has called for greater effort to document and prosecute crimes of rape and sexual violence in war.

Speaking to peacekeepers Jolie said they may be the first person the traumatized girl encounters after she is abused.

“The reality is that a peacekeeper may be the first person one of these traumatized girls encounters after they’re abused. As peacekeepers you need to be absolutely clear what to do.

“Because that little girl will be frightened, especially of a man with a gun. How you approach her will affect whether she is able to begin to recover or if more damage will be done.” Jolie said

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo faced accusations of systematic rape in the central Kasai region this year and the African Union and French peacekeepers have faced investigations over rape and sexual abuse in recent years.

The UNHCR says Kenya is home to nearly 491,000 refugees from neighboring Somalia, South Sudan, DRC, Burundi and other countries in the region.

UN Urges President Buhari To Prosecute Boko Haram Crimes

UNThe United Nations has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate and prosecute “horrifying” allegations of executions, rape and amputations of children by the Boko Haram sect.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, says that reports of violations committed by Nigerian armed forces should be investigated also and perpetrators brought to justice.

According to the UN official, civilians in Northeast Nigeria have been living through horrifying acts of cruelty and violence by Boko Haram.

These, he says include wanton killings, summary executions, forced participation in military operations – including the use of children to detonate bombs, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual violence, including rape.

Violence Against Women: Psychologist suggests Special Police Desk

Laila St.Mathew-Daniel.The need to set up gender-based desks at Nigerian Police Stations to handle issues related to Violence against Women has been emphasised by a psychologist, as the world marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The Executive Director of ACTS Generation, an NGO that guards against domestic violence, Laila St.Mathew-Daniel, said that the desk was necessary to curb the pandemic of violence against women and girls, which she stressed, had attained proportions that were very worrisome.

She said that the officers would be trained on how to deal with persons that would report cases of abuses, which she pointed out required proper handling.

St.Mathew-Daniel, who is also a Life Transformation Strategist, pointed out that violence against women was an infringement on their right and called for proper enforcement of laws to tackle the increasing trend.

The World Health Organisation in a recent report says one in every three women experiences physical or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime.

 ‘Justice Is Compromised’

To this report, St.Mathew-Daniel, said: “Until we take full control of the law, the violence will keep going on.

“When laws are not in place to curb a supposed criminal activity, people will have a tendency to keep breaking the laws. When they are put in place and they are not allowed to run its course, people will keep doing it. The perpetrators of this violence get away with it. Somewhere down the line justice is compromised.”

She listed some of the challenges that hinder abused person from reporting the case to include cultural bias and fear of stigmatisation.

“When people want to come to speak about their experiences people tend to discourage them,” St.Mathew-Daniel, said.

The United Nations has set November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

It says gender-based violence is a serious violation of human rights and increases the risk of HIV infection.

The World Health Organization report also said that up to 45-per cent of adolescent girls globally say their first sexual experience was forced.

According to the report, violence against women includes coerced abortion and forced sterilization.

UNAIDS Director of Rights, Gender, Prevention and Mobilization, Dr. Mariangela Simao, said that empowering women, which begins with girls through education and an awareness of their rights, would help end the violence.

Men, she said, must play a big role in solving the problem.