No Data of Rape Victims In Nigeria ~ International Rights Activists

August 17, 2020

A Director of the African Department, International Society for Human Rights, Germany, has expressed concern at the lack of data of victims of rape which has become pandemic in Nigeria.

Speaking during a video conference organised by ElombahNews, Dr. Emmanuel Ogbunwezeh of the German based Human Rights organisation noted that for the rape pandemic to be properly addressed in the country, there should be adequate data for the right policy to be made by government.

Participants at the conference which topic is, ‘The continuing menace and existential threat to women and girls from the rape pandemic in the county’, are Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Centre for Impact Advocacy (CIA), Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Adopt a Goal (AaG) and Barr. Mrs. Anene Chikodili, Managing Partner. Jomel Consult Solicitors.

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Ogbunwezeh acknowledged at the August 13, 2020 conference that the issue of rape in Nigeria can only be effectively tackled starting from the family unit.

He said, “The problem we have in Nigeria on this issue of rape is lack of data. So when people say rape is becoming a pandemic in Nigeria and you ask them for raw data, they will tell you that we don’t have them, so nobody can say how many people are raped in the last one year.

“The Federal Statistics Office does not have this data, NGOs don’t have this data, how can you make policy when you don’t have the data that support those claims?.

“So, that is where I want NGO’s to start gathering data in that regard, it is very important. If you approach my organization to support you, we will make demands for data and that is where we need to start our orientation.

“Rape is a very complex issue, so you can’t find a simple solution to a complex problem, it should be multi-faceted.

“We should know that every rape victim comes from a family. So if we want to solve the problem, we must go back to the families. We have to sensitize the families. The families have to change the way kids are being brought up in our social milieu.

“We should encourage our kids to ask questions, when a kid is being abused you will notice it always. Our families should allow kids to express themselves, kids are our tomorrow. If we don’t safeguard kids, we will loose our future.

“We need to change the way we raise our kids, we need to give them more freedom. Nigerian kids don’t ask question because, they are shutdown in the family. You tell kids to shut up, because they are curious to know what the world is all about.

“We should change our academic curriculum, we beat up our kids from nursery to University, so we should abolish it. In Europe, if you smack a kid, you will go to jail. In fact, the kid will be taken from you.

“We should abolish our education curriculum. What the British gave us is a piece of trash, they were flogging us because they believed they were better than us. We were their slaves and we adopted that. Anybody who applies force to get an opinion across has already lost .

“We have to change every agent of socialization, the media, what do kids watch? Look at Nollywood, it teaches people to make money without doing anything. There is need to re-evaluate the content of Nollywood.

“Germany didn’t become great by money ritual. We should start thinking as a people. Without thinking, our society will fall apart. Money ritual is as stupid as anything, education is very important.

“We need to establish anti-rape hotline, where anonymity will be respected and that is where law enforcement comes in. Most of the rape cases are under reported, underage kids are being married to old men and that is rape. We have to find solution to this problems.”

Also speaking during the programme, Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga and Ariyo-Dare Atoye raised concerns over the increasing incidence of rape for rituals in Nigeria, adding that the groups are concentrating their campaign against rape rituals in order to educate and enlighten people.

Ogunlana-Nkanga said that the reason for the increase in rape for ritual is because of what traditionalists told ignorant perpetrators that if one sleeps with a virgin the person will prosper.

According to her, some people have been deceived by traditionalists that if you want go get rich you need to sleep with a virgin. This is another side that people are not concentrating on.

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“A lot of traditional and local communities have been doing this without being reported.

“We are concentrating on rape for ritual in order to educate and enlighten people. We will try our best to sensitize them in fighting this issue of rape.

“Juju is not recognised in Nigeria’s customary law, we need to be sincere and frank about it.”

Atoye also said, “When election comes, people who are concerned about violence against women must get involved in order to ensure that we have all of these on the ballot. Leadership is very important and very strategic to fight this problem.

“If we don’t have a President who understands the implications of what we are discussing, he will not be able to put in place enduring policy and actions that can actually help us to get rid of this issue.

“If we don’t have leadership that is aligned with what CSOs are doing they will be looking for ways to stifle CSOs.

“You realised that there are some governors who are more concerned than the other, they have taken this issue of rape serious.

“The national level is also strategic, rape is a pandemic and it must be addressed, the way we are addressing COVID 19. People must get involved.

“A lot of families are in pains in their communities and they don’t know which way to go. These things are happening everyday, lives are being destroyed.

“I believe that all of us must get involved in tackling this problem, politically and economically.

“We must go beyond talking, we must put into action what we can by reaching out to these communities.

“If we don’t address the issue of rape of our women, we will not be secured in this society. We should rekindle our commitment to address this monster. The people are yearning for attention. We must get leaders who are really committed to this concern.”

In her contribution, Barr. Mrs. Anene Chikodili said, “Families have a major role to play to curb this menace.

“Parents need to do much work on their children. Parents can play a major role, the issue of broken home is another major problem.

“The position of the law in Nigeria is one of the problems we have. It is very difficult to prove rape in court. ”

“You will need to have proof beyond reasonable doubt and in most cases, rape could be very difficult to prove.

“Another problem is that many rape victims are afraid to report it because of stigmatization.

“You need to prove that there is actual penetration before a court can convict, and there is also circumstantial evidence that will come into play.

“Also, there is need for medical report to prove that, and many rape victims would not want to relive the trauma.”

DISCLAIMER : Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of ElombahNews!

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