NGOs, Women protest against rape of babies and children in Lagos
Members of different Civil Society Organizations, NGOs and concerned individuals recently came under the umbrella of Alliance Against Domestic Violence & Abuse (AADVA) to express concern, anger and outrage over the spate of occurrence of sexual abuse of children including babies in Lagos in particular, and Nigeria in general.
The sit-out protest against rape of babies and children took place on Thursday August 3rd in front of the Lagos State Governor’s office. It was a solemn gathering as men and women including children all dressed in black carried placards to drive home their grievances.
Some of the placards read ‘Castration for all rapists, ‘We say no to rape’, ‘Speedy trial for rape cases’, ‘Stop blame of victims, ‘Our children must be kept safe and many more. For hours, these concerned Nigerians took turns to talk about the damaging effects of rape and why government must act quickly to tackle this menace.
The statement signed by Laila St. Matthew Daniel, Executive Director, Acts Generation and Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, Executive Director, Project Alert read thus:
“We are here today seeking attention for our children, especially our daughters who have become endangered species. Hardly a day goes by that there are no reports of defilement and rapes. These incidences occur everywhere. They happen at home, in schools, in faith-based organizations, in markets and in recreational centres.”
“The perpetrators are most times known to the victims. They are people they know, love and trust like fathers, uncles, teachers, neighbours, classmates, friends, relatives, pastors, Imams, drivers and house helps. Less than 5% of the cases are the perpetrators strangers to the victims.”
“The most recent one which occurred last week and gained public attention is the one of 14-year-old Obiamaka Orakwue, a JSS 3 student who was raped and killed in her home in Lagos. There is also the story of a 13-year-old girl who was raped by two older men and another 7-year-old girl who also became a victim of these sexual predators. We are indeed dealing with an epidemic of frightening proportions.”
“The statement commended the efforts of Lagos State government for setting up the Domestic & Violence Response Team, DSVRT Lagos, to help raise awareness and respond to reported case. However, a lot still needs to be done in the areas of response by the police because of lack of diligent investigation and prosecution of cases of police and officers of the state.”
“Delays in court should be tackled. Inadequate sexual assault centres should be looked into. Lack of a good fostering system for children abused by one or both parents is hampering justice for rape victims. We demand prompt, professional response by the police, devoid of shaming and trivializing rape cases should be adopted.”
The statement said that: “There should be diligent investigations and prosecution of offenders by the police and the officials of the state ministry of justice. There should be creation of more sexual assault referral centres across the state to complement Mirabel Centre and ensure speedy medical and psychological support for victims.”
“There should be a fast track court system for victims of rape and their families and friends in order for justice not to be delayed. There should be development of a good fostering system to ensure that child victims of sexual abuse in their homes are extracted from such environment and placed with families that would lovingly care for them.”
“Lagos State should include Life Skills Development modules into the curricula of schools to equip the young children with values and moral which is totally different from technical skills. The state and concerned individuals should engage stakeholders in the community in town hall meetings aimed at educating on their role in assisting to curb the epidemic of rape in their communities.”