Worried about the rising cases of sexual assault on women in the country,
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Enugu on Thursday. held a peaceful protest demanding enforcement of Violence Against Persons Prohibited Law, VAPP, establishment of DNA centres and stiffer punishment for sexual assaults and violence against women.
The peaceful protest was organised by Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Actionaid, League of Women Voter’s of Nigeria , others in conjunction with the Global Affairs Canada.
Addressing newsmen at the event, the Executive Director / Founder of WACOL Prof. Joy Ezeilo said , “We organised this peaceful protest march in solidarity with Women across Nigeria in a move to stamp out social and gender sexual violence.
“Rape is a serious felony, is a crime under Nigeria law both in Northern and Southern parts.
” This impunity against women and girl child must stop because the rate of rape we see during this COVID-19 period is unacceptable.
” We are worried that at a time the pandemic is ravaging the world that we are having another pandemic of sexual assaults.
” This is quite disturbing and have left our women and girl child feeling unsafe.
The pinnacle code applicable in Nigeria condemns rape and under Southern Nigeria, it is life imprisonment while attempted rape amounts to 14 years imprisonment, ” she said.
The Professor of Law and Dean of the Law faculty, University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, disclosed that “WACOL has within this pandemic recorded 25 cases of rape between April and May and on top of that handled 156 cases of sexual and gender violence.”
Ezeilo said that even men were raped too and condemned the act totally. The WACOL founder/ Chief Executive lamented that rape victims most times have problem of being stigmatised and shy away from speaking out. She encouraged people to speak out and preserve the evidence (s) when molested.
She thanked President Buhari for declaring state of emergency on sexual assault and called for the proper implementation of the rape law in all the state of the federation.
On her part, the chairperson of League of Women Voters of Nigeria ,Nnenna Anozie, called on women to also help them in nailing down the sexual abuse perpetrators.
” We go about sensitising women on the need to report rape cases immediately so that we can get first hand evidence.
” Most of our problem in proving our case before the courts is that rape victims always tempered with the evidence by washing off semen.
” With all our agitation, we are hoping that something would be done technologically and others in implementation of the law, ” Anozie said.
The women dressed in black, wore black face masks and carried placards condemning rape and other violence against women.