A call has been made to Lagos State Government by women under the aegis of Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Abuse (AADVA) demanding death penalty for perpetrators of rape in the state.
A Coordinator of the organisation, Mrs. Laila St. Matthew-Daniel, who made the call during a peaceful protest to Lagos House Ikeja said the heinous crime had become an epidemic of frightening proportion that should be nipped in the bud.
She disclosed that AADVA as an umbrella comprising different civil society organisations, NGOs and concerned individuals visited the State House to express their concern, anger and outrage on the frequency of the occurrence of sexual abuse of children (including babies) in Nigeria, particularly Lagos.
According to her, daily media reports of defilement and rape made it necessary to seek government support for protection of the endangered children, especially young girls.
Matthew-Daniel said statistics showed that only in less than five per cent of the cases were the perpetrators of such acts strangers to the victim and cited the case of a 14-year-old, SS3 girl, Obiamaka Orakwe who was raped and killed at her home.
She, however, commended Lagos State Government for being responsive through Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) and Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in creating awareness and the prompt response to reported cases.
She appealed to the State Government to fast track the court system for victims of rape and their families to obtain justice; create more Sexual Assault Referral centres across the state to compliment Mirabel Centre for speedy medical and social support for victims.
Others are hinged on how to develop a good fostering system to ensure those child victims are extracted from the abusive environment; include life skills development modules in school curricula to equip children with values and morals as well as engage stakeholders in town hall meetings to educate them on their roles in combating rape.
Responding, the state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Lola Akande, commended the organisation for taking the bold step of standing against all forms of abuse.
She explained that the state government was very passionate and committed to security issues, particularly sexual violence and rape cases as relevant MDAs had been given directives to escalate any identified cases.
Akande urged AADVA members to increase the tempo of awareness, enlightenment and advocacy, advising them to bring up a Bill consisting of the demands to be sent to Lagos House of Assembly and assured the organisation of forwarding its requests to the governor.