Rape: Victims’ Parents In A’Ibom Seen As Accomplice To Crime Warned

Dr. Glory Edet
Dr. Glory Edet

Parents and relations of rape victims from Akwa Ibom State who receive financial compensation from perpetrators to cover up suspects have been warned to desist from such action.

This is as Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly had domesticated and passed Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law on July 17, 2017 that prescribes life imprisonment for rapists in the state.

Akwa Ibom State commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Glory Edet, gave the counsel Thursday in Uyo, the state capital during the official inauguration of Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response Centre sponsored by the ministry in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Edet expressed worry that some parents and close relations of rape victims go behind to get money from the suspect, thereby thwarting the efforts of the ministry towards curbing this heinous misdeed.

“Another problem that we see in this ministry is that when we bring this issue to the fore and maybe the culprits are taken to the police station, the parents will go behind and try to negotiate and collect money. Madam, sir- no matter the amount of money you collect from a culprit, it can never be compared to the life of your child,” she said.

Edet, who was represented by Mrs Margaret Edem, the permanent secretary in the ministry, said that 49 persons were trained in the area of management of data of rape and abuse cases to man the centres which are now spread across Uyo, Eket and Ikot Ekpene senatorial districts of the state.

“There is a need for you to train the people that are directly responsible for handling these cases. In doing this, we have about 49 individuals brought in for this training. You cannot fight any crime without having good data and information. The training was on the management if these case, she stated.

READ ALSO:  Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB Leader, Has Root In Olden A'Ibom, Asserts Varsity Historian
Edem (middle) flanked by directors in the ministry during the inauguration

The commissioner, who said that the ministry had embarked on intensive sensitisation on radio and television programmes to create awareness, urged rape and abuse victims to take advantage of the centre to report such cases as the ministry was well equipped to swing into action and bring perpetrators to book.

She assured that beyond ensuring that culprits face the wrath of the law, the ministry would take measures to rehabilitate the victims in order for them to still be useful to themselves, parents and the society.

“We are all out. No matter where you hide to commit this crime, we are going to follow you up with the help of law enforcement agents to fish you out. When we fish you out, we are going to use you as a message to other people committing these crimes.

“We want to plead that you help us. If you know of anybody who takes delight in inflicting pains on the lives of other people in this society, you let us know. When you let us know, we will not disclose your identity. We also discovered that when these girls, especially the very small ones are raped, they find it difficult to say it out. We are opening this office so that you can come in, confide in us and speak up,” the commissioner noted.

Edet used the occasion to warn parents and other relations who abuse under age sexually to desist from the act to avoid attracting the wrath of law, warning “Any person who has carnal knowledge of a female child from age 01-17 is liable for punishment.

“Again, I want our young girls to desist from sleeping around with men. If you are pregnant, do not go for abortion. If you deliver a child, do not throw it into trash bin or forest. Bring the child to us. There are many people in Nigeria and outside the country who are ready to adopt children. At the moment, there is a big file containing names of applicants wishing to adopt children.”

READ ALSO:  Dead Militant Leader, Don Wanni, Once Lived in Uyo- Investigation
Edem cutting the ribbon to launch the Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response Centre

I must commend the state government under Governor Udom Emmanuel and his wife, Martha for caring for 800 children in the Divine Children’s Home, Uyo. It is not easy to care for their feeding, clothing, medication and education.”

She mentioned General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene, Immanuel Hospital, Eket and the ministry’s headquarters as centres for counselling and report of violence against men and women, giving 08031230382 as a toll free-line for people to reach the centre.