By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
The Anambra State chapter of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has called for stiffer penalties agaonst perpetrators of sexual abuse and assault in Nigeria.
It also called on security agencies to avoid hiding the identities of perpetrators saying that it will serve as a deterrent to others.
Speaking during a peaceful protest in Awka on to rap up a Seven Day nation wide campaign against rape and violence against women, the state NAWOJ chairperson, Comrade Stella Igboka said women are embittered with the recent upsurge in rape cases in the country.
She regretted that children within the age range of 3 to 12 have also fallen prey to the ill act saying that the Association will not relent until action is taken.
Igboka harped on the need for stakeholders to rise in unison against the menace.
Addressing the state Commissioner of Police, CP John Abang at the police headquaters in Amawbia, Comrade igboka appealed to the police to ensure that the perpetrators of the evil act are brought to book.
She said, “We as women, mothers are deeply pained. Our children, your children are being raped all over the place. Children as little as 3-year-old. The rate is becoming overwhelming. That is why we are dressed in black to bury this evil act.
“We urge you to ensure perpetrators when arrested are brought to book without hiding their identities or taking a short cut to release them back to the society to continue their evil act”.
In his response, the CP blamed the carefree attitude of some parents who chase money above taking care of their children, thereby abandoning to societal dangers.
He said that between January 2020 to date, the Command had recorded 15 cases of Rape out of which 12 were charged to Court and still on trial, 16 suspects arrested and three case under investigation.
Abang said, “The Command under my watch will continue to partner with the National Council for Women Societies, NCWS, NAWOJ and other Stakeholders especially in the area of advocacy and monitoring in order to ensure diligent investigation and prosecution of Rape and other offences in the state.
“Parents have a role to play in this issue. Some victims are afraid to come out because they are protecting their family name. Also they need to teach their children all the basics. Some parents leave their homes early in the morning in pursuit of money and return in the evening. In this case, who will be there for the child, to give him/her direction, teach her to say no when a man calls her my wife, how can a grown man call a little kid my wife, when did you marry her?
“The girl child is not alone in the rape crisis, boys are also molested, so I urge you to also speak for the boy child. Rape is lije a canker worm in our society but we will not relent until those involved in rape cases are brought to book.
The CP called for synergy between NAWOJ and the police in curbing the menace regretting that one of the problem encountered by the police with victims of rape case is that some families of the victims do compromise.
On his part, the speaker Anambra state House of Assembly, represented by the deputy speaker Mr Pascal Agbodi representing ihiala two constituency while addressing the Association condemned the act of rape in the society.
He assured the women that the state Assembly will support them by making laws that will secure the life of Women and children in the state.
In an interview with the national treasurer of NAWOJ, comrade Ifeoma Obi, she harped on the need for parents to equip their children with self defense strategies and an awareness of its importance.
Former chairperson, NUJ Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS chapel and member NAWOJ, comrade Ngozi Obileri called other NGOs to support women to eliminate rape in the society.
The women protesters who took their peaceful protest to the state House of Assembly complex and the state Police Headquarters carried placards with the inscription , “Rape, life time trauma, “Stop sexual assault, “Women are not sex toys”, “Protest against Rape in Anambra State” “Stop rape, stop child molestation, it’s criminal, among others.