By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, a non governmental organization today called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on Gender Based Violence, GBV, in the country due to increase in reported cases of rape and killings of women and girls particularly in May 2020.
Country Director of AAN, Ms Ene Obi who made this call today in Abuja said,” We have never been more alarmed about cases of Gender Based Violence in Nigeria than in recent times. Girls , women , young and old now live in fear as they no longer safe even in their homes.”
Obi said that a recent document from the NGO has shown that since the lockdown in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, ActionAid Nigeria has documented a total of 253 cases of GBV in Bauchi, Cross River, Enugu, Kebbi and Kwara states.
Giving an update reported cases of GBV in some parts of the country, Obi said, ” is no longer a women issue but a national issue, recently in Lagos,a 16 year girl Tina Ezekwe was shot by a trigger happy police officer, she died 2 days later. In Kaduna, 18 year old Jennifer remains traumatized after she was gang raped by 5 men who drugged her. In Bauchi, a 15 year old girl was repeatedly raped by 4 men to point that she could bearly walk and had to undergo surgery.”
” Another 12 year old girl was raped by 11 men in Jigawa and all of them confessed to have violated the little girl at different times. Also in May 2020 , a 22 year old Uwavera Omozuma an undergraduate was raped while she went to a church near her home and she died 3 days later.
AAN said that owing to it’s documentary on rape in the communities men have being violating their daughters, adding that the list of daily occurrence is inexhaustible.
The organization expressed it’s worry for the safety of Nigerian girls and women and even grandmothers who are not speared.
The organization laments that in event of conflict in the country perpetrators have continued to violate women as a form of retaliation, and condemning degenerating situation in which security operatives also threaten to rape . those they are meant to protect as evident in a 26 seconds video where two soldiers threatened to infect women and girls with HIV over alleged killing of their colleagues by residents.
ANN further called the Presidency to declare rape as a crime without option of bailor out of court settlement and that all state governments should ride up to end GBV .
The agency expressed concerned that arrest is no longer enough to serve as deterrent daily occurrences as most cases are usually settled out of court without proper justice for survivours and their families.