The spike in the number of rapes and gender-based violence offences among female folks and children in Nigeria and indeed Akwa Ibom State has reached a breaking but dreadful point.
Unfortunately, a few have courted the vicious crimes seen as taboos. Others perpetrating the crimes see such as a way of life. How sad!
Before now, the crimes remained unreported in some homes. However, the cases surged during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. For instance, Reach Out, a magazine published by Office of the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Wife indicated that there were 58 reported rape cases mostly of girls below age 16.
Further findings, according to the magazine, show that fathers, uncles, grandfathers, caregivers, intimate partners, among others, perpetuated the beastly acts. What an outlandish, deviant behavior!
This is the reason Straightnews strongly condemns sexual crimes particularly incest, adultery, marital rape, solicitation of sex through internet, sexual harassment, child pornography, groping, lesbianism, and homosexuality, among others.
We join in calling on the state government to declare a state of emergency on these crimes that have wrecked the moral fabrics of our society and, like a stubborn stigma, stamped the psychological trauma in the hearts of victims.
On this note, we support the Federal Government plan to engage respective Heads of Courts to establish specialised courts for speedy and seamless trial of rape cases and other gender-based offences.
Government is advised to protect victims and their relations who report the suspects to law enforcement agents for arrest and subsequent trial in the court of law.
This will encourage many to break their silence. And the victims should not be exposed to public ridicule and shame.
The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare in collaboration with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) involved in the fight against rapes and gender-based violence must expedite action in the prosecution of suspects to serve as deterrent to such prospective criminals.
We call on religious leaders to uphold the sanctity and dignity of the girl-child by embarking on stringent measures such as ex-communication or outright expulsion of the culprits from their fold, while royal fathers should invoke traditional injunction against the perpetrators and isolate them from other decent members of the free society.
Let the state government emulate Kaduna State government by enacting a law that will castrate the convicts.
On the whole, government must publish pictures of the convicts in the mass media as well as bar them from public office or working in the public office.
In line with our proverb ‘a stitch in time saves nine,’ let the government and the public support actions and sustain the fight to tame and eradicate rapes and gender-based violence offences as a way of restoring sanity and integrity among the decent people as well as restore the pride of womanhood.
Let justice and fairness, like a river, flow through the land.