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Police arrest 799 rape suspects as FIDA canvasses gender

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ActionAid laments rising cases, group seeks law against abuse of elders

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, yesterday disclosed that the police arrested 799 rape suspects in 717 incidents between January and May this year, stressing that the authorities are determined to tame rape cases across the country.

The IGP, who spoke with journalists after a meeting with President Mohammadu Buhari, disclosed that 631 of the cases had been concluded and charged to court, while 52 were still being investigated.

Adamu, however, attributed the surge in rape cases and other gender-based violence to the COVID-19 restrictions, insisting that the police was determined to partner with other security agencies and non-governmental organisations to end the menace.

While restating that government was poised to curtail the menace, he urged Nigerians to report sex-related offenses to law enforcement agents, noting that keeping silent would not augur well, as perpetrators would continue committing the crime.

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Besides, Lagos State chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has canvassed the setting up of gender desk in police stations or posts to curb the increase of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria.

It said such desks should be manned by well-trained personnel for cases of sexual and gender-based violence and urged government to provide free medical treatment (including psycho-analysis and psycho-social support) for victims of rape, defilement and other gender-based violence.

FIDA Chairperson in Lagos State, Mrs. Philomena Nneji, who made the group’s position known, called on governments to declare a state of emergency on rape and other gender-based violence in the country.

Also, ActionAid lamented the rising cases of rape, saying over 299 incidents of gender-based violence were recorded between April and June 2020 in six states of the federation.

It said Bauchi State recorded 83 cases, Cross River (eight), Enugu (144), Kwara (four), Kebbi (eight), Lagos (54) and Kogi (one), adding that of the number, 88 were sexual violence, harassment among others, physical and domestic violence, while about 51 cases were sexual violence against minors between the ages of three and 16 years.

ActionAid Women’s Rights Manager, Nkechi Ilochi-Omekedo, who said sexual violence was becoming an epidemic in the country, noted that as at two weeks ago there were about 253 cases, but the cases have increased to 299, meaning that about 46 girls and women had been violated within two weeks in six states.

Meanwhile, as the world marks the Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Centre for Gender Economics (CGE) stressed the need for government to strengthen laws against abuse of the elderly in Nigeria.

Specifically, the group advocated that all concerned Nigerian citizens should work to end elders’ abuse and promote their rights and privileges.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), elder abuse takes diverse forms, including abandonment by family members, physical violence, financial fraud, scams, theft, inadequate care or absolute neglect and other forms of discrimination in homes.

Speaking in Lagos, Executive Director of CGE, Uchenna Idoko, said most elderly persons around the world were abused, neglected or oppressed.

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