The wives of the 36 states’ governors have written a petition to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, demanding the setting up of special offences courts for rape and defilement cases, and for such cases to be charged to the courts and heard without undue delays.
The petition, which was copied the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, also urged him to direct the creation of rape and sexual offences desks in police stations across the country where they do not exist, and that appropriately, trained personnel should be designated to provide timely support for victims.
The petition was signed by Wife of Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi; Chair, Northern Governors Wives Forum, Dr. Amina Abubakar and Chair, Southern Governors Wives Forum, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, on behalf of others, which was made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti yesterday.
The wives of the governors also pleaded with all political, religious and community leaders to speak up against the abuse of women and children.They condemned the levels of violence against women and children in the country, saying: “As mothers, we empathise with survivors of these heinous acts and urge them to be courageous in speaking up no matter how long it takes. We salute them.
“We lend our voices to that of our First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari, who recently called for action to be taken on the increasing rate at which women and children are being sexually abused in Nigeria. On a daily basis, we are inundated with cases of defilement (of even babies of six months old), rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and murders of women and children.
“It is also worrisome that women and children with special needs have also become targets of sexual violence. We note with concern that in spite of the existence of laws at the federal level such as the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act of 2015 as well as legislations at state level to protect the well-being of women and children, perpetrators still continue their despicable acts with impunity.
“On the rare occasions when incidences of rape are reported, victims are intimidated and shamed into silence.“We hereby urged the Inspector-General of Police to direct the Police to treat rape and defilement cases with the speed and seriousness to ensure justice for victims.”However, they urged the Minister of Health to ensure provision of timely, sensitive and comprehensive medical services to victims of sexual violence.