The Edo State Chapter of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned what it described as “an unprecedented increase in sexual and gender Based Violence in Nigeria especially rape”.
Sani Momodu, Coordinator of the Edo State Chapter of the NHRC made the condemnation during a peaceful march through some major roads and streets of Benin City, the Edo State capital to protest against sexual and gender based violence now ravaging the country.
Rape and other sexual and gender based violence, he said, are crimes that must not be condoned and perpetrators must not be shielded hence the NHRC is embarking on a week long national campaign and peaceful protest against sexual and gender based violence.
“There must be no settlement behind the scene. Perpetrators must be brought to book” he said.
Momodu pointed out that one of the mandates of the NHRC is the promotion and protection of human rights of citizens and non citizens.
“While we continue to carry out this vital function, we call on all partners , stakeholders and other individuals in the administration of criminal justice system to join us in the struggle to fully realize our mandate.
He disclosed that the NHRC is strongly of the view that joint collaboration of all stake holders will help to stamp out Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Nigeria while at the same time enhancing the full implementation of the administration of criminal justice system in Nigeria:
According to him, the Police must be well equipped to carry out its functions especially in the areas of surveillance vehicles, communication equipment, computer applications, training and retraining on contemporary policing, full reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses and the establishment of police / public forums at regular intervals.
“The Police must also quickly investigate all reported cases of rape and charge suspects to court quickly and must not be involved in settling such cases out of court.
“The police, irrespective of the circumstances, must take a rape victim to the hospital for medical examination in order to obtain vital evidence relevant to securing conviction.
“We are also using this medium to appeal to the chief Judges of the respective states to establish Fast Track Courts for the purpose of quick dispensation of rape and other sexual and gender based violence cases.
“We appeal to the various ministries of justice and well-meaning individuals in the society to help in providing support and shelter for victims of sexual based violence especially rape. We also call for the establishment and operation of the Sex Offenders Diaries in accordance with the law in all the states that have domesticated it”.
Momodu also want the leaders of Faith-based Organisations to be involved, adding, “We are strongly appealing to leaders of both the Christian and Islamic faith to join us in the fight in their respective areas of coverage or jurisdictions.
“We also appeal to the media to double efforts in their reportage of Sexual and gender based violence cases. They have been our partners in progress, just as we further appeal that both the print and electronic media should provide a forum free of charge for the NHRC to always educate the public on their Rights and what to do when those rights are violated.
The Edo Coordinator of NHRC also spoke on Domestic Violence, saying “this must be treated strictly as a criminal offence and not a family matter . Victims must learn to speak out instead of dying in silence
“Finally, we call on all parents, all men and women, all brothers and sisters and all stakeholders to join us in stamping out this menace that has become more endemic than the Coronavirus pandemic”.
Receiving the protesters at the Edo state Secretariat of the Nigeria Union Of Journalists, the state Chairman, Sir Roland Osakue assured the state coordinator of NHRC that the press will continue to partner with all stakeholders in the campaign against the inhuman act.
— Eubaldus Enahoro. The Observer