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Stakeholders, CSOs canvass state of emergency on rape, sexual abuse

By Osiberoha Osibe, Awka
22 November 2021   |   4:02 am
Stakeholders of the justice administration sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) have canvassed the declaration of a state of emergency on rape and sexual abuses in the country.

[FILES] Sexual abuse.

Stakeholders of the justice administration sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) have canvassed the declaration of a state of emergency on rape and sexual abuses in the country.

The stakeholders, who expressed concern over the rising trend, said the menace was worsened by inducement of Methamaphine drug, urging parents and guardians to encourage their children and wards to speak out when molested, as a way of stemming the rising trend.

They stated this on the sidelines of the Universal Children’s Day, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and International Men’s Day at the weekend with the theme: Stop Rape Today.

They maintained that parents, guardians and victims of rape and sexual violence should be encouraged to report all cases of abuse to the police and follow them up with the legal aspect conclusively.

Speaking at the one-day event in Awka, Anambra State Commissioner for Lands, Bonaventure Emenali, said he initiated the programme since 2008 during his national youth service, when he discovered a disconnect between parents and their children, as well as between guardians and their wards.

Also speaking, Executive Director of African Child Social Empowerment Centre (ACSEC), Augusta Chisom Ukwuoma, said social service organisations organised the event to draw attention to the menace, which she said, had become rampant, with its attendant blood, pain and stigma.

Lamenting that rape and sexual abuse were hardly talked about, Ukwuoma urged parents and guardians to play better roles in this direction, especially in encouraging victims of rape and sexual assault to break the culture of silence and stigmatisation, report such cases and follow them up.

On her part, Commissioner for Children, Women and Social Welfare, Ndidi Mezue said the Governor Willie Obiano’s administration was committed to tackling the menace through the establishment of Anambra State Child Right’s Implementation Committee (ANSCRIC).

She explained that the committee was responsible for enforcing the laws against molestation, sexual violation and rape of any girl-child.

Mezue, who was represented by Adaora Okoye, observed the rising cases of sexual violence was due to increased advocacy and high number of reported defilement and rape cases in the state, adding that the laws of the country have made any non-consensual act to constitute rape and sexual violence offences.

Representative of the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vin Okpala and Director of Hospitals Department, Dr. Achugbu recalled that on September 17, 2019, Governor Obiano established the Ntasi Centre as part of Obi Ndi Nonafufu Catholic Hospital for sexual assault referral in Enugwu-Ukwu.

While accusing close relatives including uncles, cousins and sometimes, fathers of complicity in sexual assualt, he maintained that any unholy sexual act has negative implication of blood covenant, which is a sin against humanity and God, as well as exposure to sexually transmitted diseases.

Also, Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Uju Nworgu, frowned on rape, pointing out that the proposed new law against rape, which bill was at its second reading in the state’s House of Assembly provides for jail term for offenders and compensation for victims.

President of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Prof. Ogugua Ikpeze, lamented the abuse of Methamaphine, adding: “Rather than being used to reduce obesity and restore attentiveness of victim of forgetfulness thereby causing malnutrition, was being used as driver of sexual crime.