News Story

  • Home
  • Groups Protest Escalating Incidence of Rape and Gender Violence

Groups Protest Escalating Incidence of Rape and Gender Violence

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print

It would appear that the recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen the incidence of rape and gender based violence escalate in Nigeria. In recent weeks, the number of incidents reported have escalated astronomically. Daily news reports show that these incidents spread across the country. Some of the most outrageous cases include the rape and murder of a student of the University of Benin, Uwalia Vera Omozuwa in a Church building in Benin, Edo State; the rape and murder of Barakat Bello in Ibadan, Oyo State; the rape of a 12-year old girl in Jigawa State and the killing of 17 year-old Tina Ezekwe by a Policeman. These incidents have sparked protests in different parts of Nigeria. Citizens and several groups are demanding justice, asking the government to declare a state of emergency on gender based violence, and calling for the domestication of the Childs Rights Act and the Violence Against Persons Act in all 36 States of Nigeria. Activists are advocating to eradicate the rape culture which is fueled by societal male domination and made even more unbearable by blaming and shaming the victims. They are calling for awareness and re-orientation of men, who are supposed to uphold and protect the dignity of their female counterparts. The Police has also been called out for acts of gender violence by some of its personnel and its lack of will to diligently investigate rape and other cases of sexual violence.

To address these issues, the National Human Rights Commission has launched a social media campaign to create awareness on sexual and gender based violence and educate men about consent. The Nigeria Police on its part, has committed to deploying more personnel across the country to respond to gender violence cases. The House of Representatives reached several resolutions following a debate on gender based violence against girls and women across Nigeria, at its sitting on Thursday, June 4. Some of these resolutions include the following:
The Inspector General of Police should immediately investigate the reported rape and murder cases;
The House Committees on women Affairs, Human Rights and Justice should present a Bill to amend laws dealing with gender based violence in Nigeria;
Declaration of a State of Emergency on Gender Based Violence in Nigeria;
NAPTIP to open and make public, a Register for convicted rapists;
Federal Government to provide test kits for rape victims in all primary healthcare centres across the country.

In the light of rising cases of rape, there is an important need for law enforcement and security personnel, as well as policy and legislative institutions to work out an urgent response to what is apparently a pandemic of rape and gender based violence in Nigeria.