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Stakeholder calls for review of approaches to rape prosecution

The Director-General, National Centre for Women Development, Mrs. Mary Ekpere-Eta, has condemned the spike in cases of rape of women across the country.

In a statement  the Mrs. Ekpere- Eta explains that aside from disturbing data which shows that one in four girls and one in ten boys have experienced sexual violence  before the age of 18, recent months have seen the media publishing reports of rape which in some cases the women were killed after being sexually assaulted.

According to the statement, the recent cases like that of University of Benin undergraduate. Miss. Vera Uwaila Omosuwa, Miss, Barakat Bello of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Ibadan, both of whom were raped and killed, as well as a 12 year old girl serially raped by 11 men in Jigawa State call for a paradigm shift in how rape is handled by all actors.

She calls for improved and effective response from the police, the judiciary, members of the victim’s family and community members.  

Mrs. Ekpere- Eta further notes that providing support for victims is critical to encouraging them to be bold enough to report sexual assault as a means to break the culture of silence around rape.

The statement commends the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu for sending extra number of detectives to fish out the killers of the Late Vera Uwaila Omosuwa, and calls on him to do same in the case of the Late Barakat Bello.

It further advises the IGP to use part of the Police Trust Fund to equip the police to scientifically prove rape cases and also to train special units across police state commands to professionally handle rape cases.

The recent increase in rape cases also present an opportunity for states to take further steps to support the police and other security agencies by building forensic laboratories where good evidence on rape can be built and domesticate relevant laws such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Child Rights Act (CRA) to strengthen the fight against sexual violence.

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