Group condemns sexual violence in Edo
A non-governmental and non-profit organisation, Brave Heart Initiative (BHI) in collaboration with Federation of Female Lawyers, Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations (CONGOs), Girls Power Initiative (GPI), Society to Heighten Awareness of Women and Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA), among others, yesterday, staged a peaceful march across Benin City, where they condemned in strong terms sexual violence against females, particularly minors, in Edo State.
The groups walked through Oba Ovoranmwen Square (Ring Road) and terminated at Edo State Council Secretariat of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), where the Executive Director of BHI, Priscilla Usobifo, said between January and June 2017, her organisation has recorded 15 cases of sexual violence against women in Akoko-Edo local government area alone.
She said stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians must come to the victims’ aid, as some of the cases are quite disturbing.“We have recorded 21 cases, and out of these, 15 were sexual defilement of minors under the age of 14. In about five cases, they were serially raped, which means it was not the first time.
“We are deeply worried that these issues have continued to thrive unabated. We are also concerned with the impunity exhibited by these rapists and defilers, especially at the community level. If we have this number in Akoko-Edo local government area, multiply it with the 18 Local Government Councils and imagine the cases, though unreported,” she said.
She called on government to “truly” implement Child Rights Act, just as she advocated domestication of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) and the decentralisation of family units of Police to cover the three senatorial districts of the state. “This will reduce the burden of logistics in cases of transfer.”
In his response, Chairman Edo Council NUJ, Sir Rowland Osakue, said the union supports protest against rapes and defilement and would continue to support initiatives to check such acts.
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