By Chinenye Festus:-
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu ESQ made the call on Monday, June 15 at a joint press conference, with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons( NAPTIP).
He said: “it is high time a more stringent national action was taken to ensure that members of the public take cases of rape and other Sexual and Gender Base Violence( SGBV) with the seriousness they deserve”.
Ojukwu revealed the Commission’s plan to partner with NAPTIP and organize 5 days of activism with its theme: ‘Equality and Dignity for Nigerian Women’,
He disclosed that this event which is scheduled for June 16 will take place across the states of the Federation, but will Kickstart with a walk which will start from the headquarters of the Commission in Abuja, from there they will visit the National Assembly, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Ministry of Women Affairs, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the Inspector General of Police, the Ministry of Information, Media Houses and other relevant stakeholders on a wake-up call to join the fight against rape and SGBV”, and most importantly, to sensitise the public and create awareness in the dangers of Rape and other Sexual Gender Base Violence as what can be done to tackle the issue of rape.
Ojukwu said there is an urgent need to also strengthen institutions such as the Police, NAPTIP, NHRC and the Judiciary tasked with the provision of the legal and other support services to survivors as well as ensure accelerated disposal of cases on rape and SGBV.
Also airing his view, Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli called for harmonization of all laws against rape, urging Nigerians to get reel and authorities to ensure that the punishment against rape is life imprisonment as prescribed by VAPP Act 2015.
Okah-Donli charged members of the public to desist from treating rape, spousal battery, sodomy and other aberrative behaviours as family matters, but to rather treat them as crimes against the state, which they are.
Both commissions thereby urged governments at all levels to declare a state of emergency on rape and other forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence SGBV, describing both as “criminal offences that have devastating effects on both the survivors and the society at large”.