In a report released yesterday by CLEEN Foundation, the organization described Sexual and Gender Based Violence as “Epidemic within a Pandemic.” It Calls for Government Action Against Perpetrators and Support for Victims, Survivors and their Families.
According to the report, “There is an alarming increase in cases of sexual and gender based violence since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. This is as a result of different factors including weak enforcement of laws, lack of diligent prosecution of rape suspects, stigmatisation of rape victims, culture, traditions and patriarchy among other issues.”
The report went further to say, The deaths of Vera Uwaila Omosuwa, 22 years old, a student of University of Benin in Edo State, and Barakat Bello, 18 years old, a student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Moor Plantation, Apata, Ibadan, Oyo State sparked national out-cry in Nigeria and mobilised activists to demonstrate for an end to sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria. Despite the out-cry, more cases have emerged which shows a pattern of impunity and lack of effective government response.
In the South-West region, there were two (2) media reported cases of rape of two (2) young girls in Oyo and Ekiti States respectively. Unfortunately, the victim in Oyo was murdered in cold blood while report from Ekiti indicated that some of the suspects were apprehended and brought to the office of the wife of the Governor who prompted handing over of the suspects to the police for investigation.
Similarly, on Wednesday 3rd June 2020, men of Ogun State Police Command arrested a 25- year- old – man, Wasiu Bankole, for forcefully having carnal knowledge of a 70-year-old woman while she was asleep. The suspect was arrested 24 hours after he committed the offence at Abule Lemode, Ijoko in the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of the state. On Thursday, 4th June 2020, a 12-year-old girl, was gang-raped by four masked men at her residence in Abijo area of Ajah, Lagos State. She was said to have been raped while playing alone in the compound around 2pm on Thursday 4th June 2020. Similarly, in the North West region, a 12-year-old girl was purportedly raped by a middle aged (57) man at Limawa quarters in Dutse local government area of Jigawa state. She has also been allegedly raped by eleven (11) men at different occasions.
A 13-year old girl was allegedly gang raped in Kaduna state by four men who had whisked her away on a bike. The Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development has since launched an investigation. It was gathered that the girl was drugged before being raped. She was later dumped underneath a stationary vehicle near her house.
Report from Osun state indicated that in Erinmo Ijesa area, a man lured a 16-year-old daughter of a family friend to accompany him to the farm along with two other persons. He thereafter sent the other two persons to another farm far away, leaving the young girl alone with him. He thereafter raped the innocent girl. CLEEN Foundation has been escalated the case to the relevant agencies for urgent investigation and action.
A 38-year-old man named Simon Emeka was arraigned in Makurdi, Benue State on June 5th, 2020 for raping his seven (7) months old daughter. It was alleged that the accused person has been involved in the crime since the baby was three (3) months old.
An online video that surfaced on Saturday 6th June 2020 indicated that a two (2) year-old girl at Idumota Lagos was repeatedly raped by a man and was beaten by her mother who blamed the child. The matter is currently under investigation by the National Human Rights Commission and the Lagos State Government.
A 15-year-old boy, identified as Osayomi, was arrested by the police in Ekiti State for allegedly defiling a three-year-old girl. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Asuquo Amba said the incident occurred at Iludi, Osi Ekiti, in the Ido/Osi LGA of the state on May 30, 2020, around 5:00 pm. The mother of the three (3) year old victim returned home from market and discovered that her daughter was rough and stressed. After a close examination, she noticed fluids on her daughter’s underwear, raising suspicion that she might have been defiled. Medical examination confirmed her suspicion.
The Nigeria Governors Forum has responded by declaring rape an emergency and calling on governors to adopt laws that will strengthen capacity to deal with sexual and gender-based violence. In addition, the Federal government has announced the composition of an Inter-Ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee to tackle issues of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria. CLEEN Foundation will monitor and report on the effectiveness of these policies announced by both federal and state governments.