By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Niger State Police Command has raised alarm over the increasing cases of rape and sexual assaults on minors and said no fewer than 100 cases were reported to the Police in the state in the last few months.
The rape victims, mostly minors of between 2 and 7 years old, in most cases were raped by persons quite advanced in age.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Alhaji Mu’azu Zubairu said an average of four rape cases were being recorded every week in the state just as findings by our correspondent indicated that several other cases go unreported by victims and or their families.
Zubairu spoke at an advocacy workshop organised by the International Federation of Female Lawyers, (FIDA) in conjunction with the state’s chapter of the Child’s Rights Agency where he further disclosed that recently a 50 year old man was arrested for sexually assaulting a little girl of about four years old in Minna.
“In another ugly incidence, a 25 year old man was caught for raping a two year old girl while two young men, 19 and 20 years old were arrested for severally raping a 15 year old girl for a period of three weeks.
Represented by the Command’s Assistant Commissioner of Police, (in charge of Intelligence and Investigations), Abubakar Shua’ibu, the Commissioner of Police lamented that the Police was being expected to perform magic in stopping the ugly trend despite its huge incapacitation.
“The Police has no absolute powers beyond what we are doing to bring perpetrators to book”. He said while the society expects much from the Police, the force is being arm strung by several factors ranging from constitutional to the limits of instrumentality.
“Most times, people look up to the Police in cases of rape for prompt action but the Police cannot act alone. The Police arrests but we do not prosecute.”
He recalled that in one of the successfully prosecuted rape cases, the suspect was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment without option of fine. “But that is just one in several cases he said. Nothing appears to have changed just as increasing cases of child abuse and other domestic violence have been on the increase” he said.
The Police Commissioner called for a speedy investigation of rape and other related cases of abuse, argued that it is only proper if culprits are brought to justice without delay.
Wife of the state Governor, Dr. Amina Sani Bello noted with satisfaction that Niger state was the first state in the northern part of the country to establish an agency for the protection of children and women.
She assured that the state government will give the organization, (FIDA) the needed support to enable it discharge its statutory functions as a voice for the voiceless, (particularly women and children across Niger state).
Chairperson of FIDA in the state, Hajia Maryam Jibo urged women and young girls to always speak out and not keep quiet when molested by rapists or their husbands.
She cautioned housewives against allowing their children to go vending and hawking during odd hours and at desolate places. She advised mothers to properly educate their female wards against pedophiles who often use money and other gift items to lure unsuspecting, innocent girls and entrap as easy preys.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.