Rape: We must look beyond legislation to fix problem – Osinbajo

June 20, 2020
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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the country must look beyond just legislation to fix the problem of gender-based violence, rape, and sexual assaults which are on the rise in the country.

Osinbajo disclosed this recently in Abuja while addressing a virtual meeting of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on the scourge of rape, sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

According to him, there is need to look beyond just legislation to fix the problem, but rather, interrogate the dysfunctional cultures, the systemic flaws in institutions and perverse social norms that enable sexual and gender-based violence.

“While violence against women has always been a challenge in Nigeria, the COVID 19 lockdown has occasioned a steep increase in sexual and gender-based violence across the country.

The vice president said that President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors recently undertook to take drastic action against gender-based violence.

The vice president said that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, the International Community and several civil society organisations had also been at the forefront of finding solutions to address the root causes of gender-based violence.

“I am told that between March 23, 2020– May 29, the FCT Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Team received an overwhelming 105 incidents; an average of 13 incidents per week, up from the usual five to six incidents per week, pre-COVID-19.

“Also, a few days ago the Inspector General of Police disclosed that the police had recorded about 717 rape incidents across the country between January and May. And that 799 suspects had so far been arrested, 631 cases conclusively investigated and charged to court, while 52 cases are still under investigation.

“What these figures show is an escalation of an already disgraceful trend of violence against women and girls in the country.”

He regretted the rapes and murders of Mrs Queen Igbinevbo, a pregnant woman in her home in Edo on May 20, 2020, Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, and a 22-year-old student of University of Benin on May 27, 2020.

More so, that of Barakat Bello, an 18-year- old female student of Federal College of Animal Health and Production, Ibadan on June 1, 2020; among others, saying they should never have happened and must not be allowed to continue.

Osinbajo commended NHRC for taking the lead on the important conversations around rape and gender-based violence in Nigeria, and for organising a week-long sensitisation and advocacy campaigns.

He also lauded the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulen Talen, for her historic presentation on the subject to the Federal Executive Council, which led to the adoption of several important resolutions.

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