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ActionAid Records 253 cases of Gender-based Violence in Bauchi,  Cross River, others

...calls on President Buhari to declare state of emergency on gender-based violence

ActionAid Nigeria says that the since the advent of the Covid-19  pandemic, cases of gender-based violence has risen to 253 in Bauchi, Cross River, Enugu, Kebbi, and Kwara states.

The organization has therefore called  on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on gender-based violence following the increase in reported cases of rape and killings of women and girls, particularly in May 2020.

ActionAid Nigeria is a human rights and social justice nongovernmental organization working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in the country.

“We have never been more alarmed about the cases of Gender Based Violence in Nigeria than in recent times,” Ene Obi, the Country Director, said recently in Abuja.

“Girls, Women, young and old now live in fear as they are no longer safe even in their own homes. Since the lockdown in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ActionAid Nigeria and her partners have documented a total of 253 cases of Gender Based Violence in Bauchi, Cross River, Enugu, Kebbi and Kwara States,” she said.

“While we commend the efforts of the Nigerian police in swinging to action to investigate and arrest some of the perpetrators, we are concerned that arrest is no longer enough to serve as deterrent as this is now almost a daily occurrence. More so, most of these cases are settled out of court and there is no real justice for the survivors and their families”.

She further stressed that Gender Based Violence is no longer a women issue but a national issue. She cited examples such as the recent case in Lagos of a 6-year-old Tina Ezekwe who was shot by a trigger-happy police officer, and died 2 days later.

In Kaduna, according to her, an I8-year-old Jennifer remains traumatized after she was gang-raped by 5 men who drugged her. Similaarly, in Bauchi, a 15-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by 4 men to the point that she could barely 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, she said.

The latest of this gender-based violence in Nigeria is story  of the rape and murder of Uwaila Omozuwa, a 100-level, 22-year-old student of the University of Benin. She was attacked in May when she went to read in a church near her home, and died three days later.

The Nigeria Police announced Tuesday that they had arrested a suspect in connection with the student’s murder.

“Furthermore, ActionAid Nigeria is concerned that when there is any form of conflict in the country, perpetrators have continued to pounce on women as a form of retaliation. The situation has degenerated to the point that security operatives who are meant to protect are also threatening to rape and kill women and girls in the face of conflicts,” she added.

“ActionAid Nigeria hereby calls on governments at all levels to rise and put an end to Gender-Based Violence. We call on the Presidency to declare rape as a crime without options of bail or out-of-court settlement. We urge the Presidency to declare a state of emergency on Gender Based Violence, as this is the time to take concrete actions before Nigeria comatose into a state of anarchy where women and girls are left to wallow in hopelessness”.

 

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