The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has expressed concern over the increasing cases of rape and other violence against women and girls in Africa, describing it as alarming.

Busola Dakolo’s rape allegation against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, COZA, could not stand because our laws are laws of evidence, which she could not produce at the time of hearing in court.

This much was enunciated by Barr. Olivia Nwachukwu, General Secretary, Federation of International Lawyers, FIDA, recently at an event organised to flag-off 16 Days Activism in Lagos by NOPRIN Foundation and Project Alert.

Responding to a comment by one of the participants that the judgment on that case could discourage other victims who may be willing to come out, Nwachukwu said, “Our laws, especially the laws that we practice in Nigeria are laws of evidence and because Busola Dakolo’s case is sort of time-bound – from what we heard, the incident happened 20 years – to that extent the evidence would have been dissipated. Being that our laws are laws of evidence, she has to prosecute that matter to a logical conclusion; she has to produce evidence.

Nwanchukwu however said there is no way that judgment was going to discourage victims from coming out in the future.

“I think it’s now left for us to encourage them through activities such as ‘International Day on Violence Against Women’ and others.” Another participant, Unobe Ene Sarah, Executive Director, International Centre for Human Rights, Non-violence and Safety awareness, also a lawyer advised victims to always guard their evidence and present them on time.”

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