Saturday, 28 December 2013

Scarred for life: Story of children raped by own fathers (2)


victims
In this second part of our story on the life of Bola (13) and Tolu (10), whose father had been sleeping with for two years until they were rescued and he was apprehended in July 2013; and Susan (19), who allegedly had two children for her pastor-father, our correspondent reports on the multi-dimensional concern about child sexual abuses in the country and the opinions of stakeholders.
This correspondent obtained the address of Bola and Tolu’s mother, Kemi, which she had submitted to officials who took custody of her children following the arrest of her husband in July.
The address indicates she resides at Agugu in Ibadan, Oyo State but a visit to the said address showed Kemi was not living there. The look on the face of a young man who was seen at house No 25 showed confusion.
“Nobody by that name lives here,” he said simply. The phone line Kemi had given to officials always indicates that it is switched off.
Our correspondent could not get Kemi to state why she had not visited her children since their father was arrested.
Alarming increase in child rape
These are perilous times for the Nigerian girl-child. A sexual predation with a craving for little children stalks the streets like an invisible monster.
Bola, Tolu and Susan are just three of the many children who have been sexually abused or raped by their “primary care givers.” Many more are being raped by strangers or neighbours.
But the culture of don’t-ask-don’t-tell in many parts of the country makes it impossible to have an accurate data on the rate of abuses.
However, once in a while, some victims summon the courage to speak up as in the case of a seven-year-old daughter of Sylvester Ehijele, who accused his father of rape in March 2013.
While the girl said her 49-year-old father had sex with her on a daily basis whenever her mother was not at home, the mother, Margaret, accused Sylvester of raping their 23-year-old daughter when she was much younger. The man did not stop there, he also allegedly defiled his one-year-old granddaughter.
This correspondent went in search of the family in Ejigbo area of Lagos to find out how the family dealt with the issue after the man’s arrest. But neighbours said the family had since relocated to their village, perhaps to escape stigmatisation. No one knew their address.
A Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Mashidat Mojeed-Bello, said in cases she had seen, only few victims summoned the courage to disclose the unpleasant event.
A sociologist, Mr. Monday Ahibogwu, said his studies suggest that rape cases are usually brought to the knowledge of authorities by third parties as is the case in that of Bola, Tolu and Susan.
A lot of recent reports have suggested that very young children are increasingly being sexually abused in the country.
The Director of the Esther Child Rights Foundation, Mrs. Esther Ogwu, whose foundation has handled many of such cases in the last five years of her operation, said in March, she was alerted to a case in which the young uncle of a four-month-old girl raped her through the anus.
“The girl’s anus tore to the extent that the doctors laboured so hard to repair it. The toddler suffered so much.  The culprit ran away and his brother, who is the father of the victim, accused his wife of cooking up the allegation against his kin. The woman eventually left Lagos for her village in shame. I don’t know if the baby survived,” she said.
Just this month, the Ogun State Police Command arrested 26-year-old Kehinde Adejuwon, for allegedly raping a two-year-old girl.
In Ekiti State, within the same month, a 19-year-old man was arrested in Ado-Ekiti for raping the three-year-old daughter of his neighbour.
Also in December, a 12-year-old boy was arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court, Lagos for indulging in “forced intercourse” with the three-year-old daughter of a neighbour. The magistrate ordered the arrest of the boy’s parents.
Seventy-one-year-old hunter, Ganiyu Kolawole, was also arrested by the officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in Ondo State for luring a seven-year-old girl with a biscuit and raping her.
Executive Secretary, Children’s Anti-Corruption Initiative, a non-governmental organisation concerned with the protection of children, Mr. Omololu Akinwande, believes the underlying reason for the ‘epidemic’ of child sexual abuses in the country is craze for quick wealth.
Akinwande said, “We have investigated many cases of child sexual abuse and we have come to the conclusion that the reason for the increase is the quest for money.
“Ordinarily, one would have thought that sexual desire is the underlying reason why many would rape children or sleep with little children. It is more than that. This kind of behaviour is done for money rituals.
“Unfortunately, religious organisations are also promoting the craze for wealth in the society as well. Our study reveals that child sexual abuse increased this year. But by our estimates, only one per cent of the total of incidents is reported.”
However, it seems the alarming increase in rape cases is getting the attention of law makers in the country.
Chris Anyanwu, a senator Imo State, sponsored a sexual offences bill, which prescribes life imprisonment for rapists few months ago. It passed second reading  at the senate in November.
“The children and young people of this country, both male and female, today face a growing danger as they are being routinely targeted by sexual predators and paedophiles,,” Anyanwu had said in her argument.

What the law says
Section 31 (1) of Nigeria’s Child Rights Act, 2003, states, “No person shall have intercourse with a child.”
Subsection two goes on to say that, “A person, who contravenes the provision of Subsection one commits an offence of rape and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.”
If it is any other form of sexual abuse or exploitation as different from intercourse, the act prescribes an imprisonment of 14 years upon conviction.
The Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, for instance, seems to be in agreement with the CRA on this. Chapter 137 states, “Any person who has sexual intercourse with a child is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.”
Unfortunately, there have been few successful convictions of rapists and culprits of sexual abuses in line with the provision of these laws.
A prosecutor with the Lagos State Judiciary, Mr. Chinalu Uwadione, said the difficulty in prosecuting rape cases was as a result of the ignorance of the victims and their families.
“We find it difficult to prosecute such cases because many victims who even summon the courage to report the crime, refuse to come back to follow up the case. Families prevail on them to forget about the case for the preservation of their dignity.
“Some victims also destroy the material evidence that can help such cases. Some take their bath before reporting the case and make it impossible to prove rape.”
A senior Lagos lawyer, Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu , is of the opinion that even though there is no mention of incest in the criminal laws of some states like Lagos, the ambit of the provisions of the Child Rights Act adequately takes care of such abhorrent acts.
Ugwummadu said, “The CRA does not draw a distinction between whether the children are violated by strangers or by the parents. The CRA covers both cases. The law is sufficiently elaborate so far as what is in the picture is a child.
“It is not even African for one to sleep with his own child. The leniency that could be argued in favour of a stranger cannot work for the father in the circumstance of our own setting. Even in foreign lands among people, who don’t have culture as deeply rooted as ours, it is unnatural and unpardonable to sleep with one’s child.
“The old Criminal Code, Cap 42, Section 357, defines assault on females, indecent assault on females, abduction of girl under 15. The point is that there is no incest but the general offences against female is wide enough to accommodate incest. Those provisions do not exclude incest.”
The lawyer explained that the police prosecutorial shoddiness is partly to blame for the unsuccessful prosecution of many rape cases.
He said, “We must not forget the cultural inhibitions associated with child abuse. It cannot be separated from the general stigma of rape. You hardly find a situation where the perpetrators are caught in the act. More often than not, the perpetrators are found when the victims summon the courage to report the crime. The general stigma associated with rape and sexual attacks on female and children imposes an additional duty on the police to go beyond the mere report of such offences.
“Quite a number of police formations trivialise such child sexual abuse cases and admonish the parents to forget about the matter so as not to expose the girl to stigma. Sometimes, they begin to wonder why the girl became the victim. The paucity of evidence, given the nature of the crime, affects these situations.
“The CRA has come with a huge revolution. What should interest any person regarding the seriousness that is attached to this law is first to note that it derives from the Constitution. Also, now, children can even institute a class action, not just against their parents but against government.”
The spokesperson of the Ogun State Police Command, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, agreed that the police at the counter of some formations lack the training to professionally handle sexual abuse cases.
He said the Inspector-General of Police had recently made effort to revitalise the unit handling such cases in police stations.
A culture of silence and no prosecution
Hardly do rape cases end up in the conviction of culprits.
Adejobi, who identified a number of reasons why sexual assaults generally have been difficult to prosecute, said, “It is very rare to see victims or their relations supporting prosecutions. Sometimes, the police charge the case to court but look stupid before the judge because the victim refuses to show up.
“For instance, recently we had a case of a woman coming to us to report that her husband had been sleeping with his own biological daughter. We charged the man to court. But the mother has been calling me on daily basis pleading that we should release him because she did not know we were going to take it that far.
“She went as far as filing a motion in court that they were not interested in the case anymore. She even brainwashed the victim that she wanted to destroy her father’s life.
“Don’t forget that when you talk about rape cases, timely medical examination of the victim is key. If you cannot tender medical report that there was carnal knowledge or ejaculation, there is no way one can prove rape.
“There was a time rape cases were so many that I had to go on the radio to sensitise the public that the situation was becoming alarming. We are trying to work on the psyche of the people.”
Adejobi said in his command, there is an anti-human trafficking and child labour unit headed by a woman, where sexual abuse cases are handled.
He explained that the IG had directed that Juvenile and Women Centres should be headed by women in all formations to ensure that victims have confidence to report rape cases.
“At charge rooms, some policemen make jest of the victims because they are men and this makes them uncomfortable. The IGP has taken note of these things and ordered all cases of rape, sexual assault and child labour should be referred to JWC and Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit for investigation,” he said.
The social pressure that stands in the way of prosecution has been a cog in the wheel of successful prosecution, the police officer said.

Victims’ long way to recovery
The three girls focused on in this quest were all smiles throughout the encounter the encounter with our correspondent, though they acknowledged that they were scarred for life. But on the surface, all appeared to be well. To anyone, nothing is and could be wrong with them. But Mojeed-Bello had a contrary opinion.
The child psychiatrist told our  correspondent that the concern is on the long term effect of their experience on their lives.
She said because the act was perpetrated by the primary care givers of the victims, they might develop a lot of immediate and long term effects.
Mojeed-Bello said, “A mark has been put on such children. They could develop post-traumatic stress disorders by continuously reliving the memory of the unpleasant event.
“Such victims could develop anxiety and undue fear. In the long term, they could develop major psychiatric problems like depression and other major psychosis later in life.
“The self esteem may be affected in such a way that they may not see themselves worthy of anything good. At some point, some may develop somatisation disorders; they start having some unusual bodily symptoms whose origin becomes untraceable through tests. There is a myriad of psychological impact on such children.”
The psychiatrist explained that some victims grow up to become abusers of young children themselves.
However, a lot of things help victims live normal lives, she said.
According to her, it is not so much about counselling as a treatment that helps such victims but the system adopted by the therapist.
“The support given to such victims helps them in the long term. Caring for them, providing them with shelter, showing them love is one aspect of it.
“But a group treatment helps a lot. Talking about what they have experienced in a group is a form of ventilating the mind. When you have a group of victims with similar experience, a therapist helps them walk through the difficult past experiences and gives them alternatives on how to cope with it.”
She said in many cases, it does not help at all to return the child back to the environment in which she passed through such experience.

Public wants incestuous fathers castrated
The reaction of the public to the case of Bola, Tolu and Susan mirror the dire consequences of the act of having sexual relations with one’s child.
Ahibogwu (the sociologist) said incest erodes the fabric of the society.
According to him, outside religious implications, the negative socio-cultural implications are enormous.
He said, “In the ancient cultures like Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires, people were made to marry their sisters so that they would not have their blood polluted by non-family members.
“But the situation changed when civilisation realised that what it portends was more dangerous than what it protected. People killed each other in envy because they had affections that they could not control for relations.
“The act is abominable across cultures. In some countries, you are even prosecuted. Some cultures in Nigeria allow the marriage of cousins while it is abominable in some other parts.”
The abuse of the children here usually begin in their formative years.
Ahibogwu said that when such abuse starts when the girl-child has yet to understand the difference between right and wrong, it reaches a stage that such child willingly goes to the father for the sexual act as if it is a normal thing.
He said, “It is a breach of confidence in the father-child relationship. Many seemingly normal people on the street are not psychologically balanced. Some men do not have the ability to control their sexual urge which is why they have sexual relations with children.
“It is not a healthy behaviour for the society. It is rape; it is child abuse, sexual abuse and breach of confidence between father and daughter.”
Ogwu is of the opinion that the act has some ritualistic undertone.
“Why did the father of those two young girls clean them up with a white singlet and took it away after he was done? One may not be able to prove it, but it is a notion supported by my findings,” she said.
Incest has always been an abomination in many parts of Nigeria and the feeling of Nigerians has not changed on the issue.
Some members of the public this correspondent spoke with gave different versions of ‘creative’ punishments for fathers who sleep with their children.
“I don’t see why such a man should still enjoy the use of a male organ since he has used it in an abominable way. He should simply be castrated,” 65-year-old retired principal, Mr. Adeosun Olugbade, said.
A young man, Ayodele Alonge, was in agreement.
“In an ideal situation, castration should be the first punishment for such devilish fathers. Next ex-communication, as societies normally would do in the ancient times. Such person should be taken away for rehabilitation because insanity may be an issue here,” he said.
Olajide Sonaike shares the same opinion. He said the “grave” offence should be met with an equally grave punishment.

“A father like that is a virus. Guillotine system would not be such a bad idea though,” he said.
Ayodeji Olofintuabo, an employee of the National Youth Service Corps suggested that raping a child should be described as “sleeping with a child.”

“It may not be strange in some cultures but anybody caught in Nigeria should be locked away for life,” he said.

Akinwande suggested a death sentence for such fathers.

The CACTI boss said, “Our laws are too liberal. Do this in China or Saudi Arabia and the culprit will die for it. Only this method can eradicate this kind of menace in our society.

“Our society seems to be in support of the problem because when you offer to help or report, they start begging you. It is unfortunate. The last case of sexual molestation of a four-year-old girl that we handled, the father blamed us for taking up the matter.”

A septuagenarian, Pa Joshua Chukwueloka, who spoke with this correspondent in Ojodu, Lagos, said in Igbo culture, incest is a very abominable act.

He explained, “When I was young, if someone did such a thing in my village in Anambra, the person was treated like a leper. Both the child and the father were exiled. They were not even allowed into other neighbouring communities because the news would have spread.
“It is an act that is unheard of but the quest for money and some devilish spirits make people do it. It is a very negative act in Igbo culture. A man who sleeps with his own child should be tied to a truck and dragged around town.”

PUNCH

Saturday, 21 December 2013

We are scarred for life – Children raped by own fathers (1)


Rape victims


It is no ordinary crime. Incest, a distant word to many, claims its victims body and soul  and shatters every sense of normalcy a child who grows up to experience such act is supposed to have. Such is the life of Bola and Tolu, who endured a sexual abuse by their father for two years. But for Susan, who had two children for her father, it is a different kettle of fish as a result of the identity problem her children will have to contend with. KUNLE FALAYI reports
Sexual abuse is one of the greatest crimes that could be committed against a child. The United Nations Convention on Rights of Child and Nigeria’s Child Rights Act give prominence to the protection of a child in the society as a result of this and specifically make case for the importance of the “primary care giver” which is the child’s immediate family.
 But for many children, they are captives in their own family as they are constantly sexually assaulted by their own fathers. For such children, the scar the act leaves in their lives will not likely be erased anytime soon.

‘My children’s father is their grandfather’
The Lagos State Children’s Home at Ipaja Ayobo, like the one at Idi Araba, houses children whose complicated fates had brought them together to live as family.
It was their end-of-year social event; a period of merry-making and lots of singing and dancing.
In the crowd of hyperactive former victims of different forms of abuses in this home, was Susan (not real name). Smiles smoothed away the creases on the face of the fair, good-looking young lady as she was busy dishing out food, washing plates and helping her younger friends and co-residents of the home.
But few will wish upon themselves the unfortunate fate that brought this young lady to the home. She was no longer a child. But leaving the home was not that simple.
Susan was 17 years old in 2011. By that time, she already had two children for her father, Egbuna, a pastor of a church in Igando, Lagos, who is in his 50s. The Enugu State born father is currently awaiting judgment before the Family Court, Ikeja.
Susan, now 19, is one whose story many would hear and cry out the word, ‘abomination!’
She was rescued by the Esther Child Rights Foundation in 2011 after a group of women in the neighbourhood made a report.
Egbuna had nine children from his wife, who died in 2009. But he allegedly started sleeping with her eldest daughter shortly after, and she gave birth to two children.

A cunning rescue
Director of the ECRF, Mrs. Esther Ogwu, with a contingent visited Egbuna’s home under the guise that they wanted spiritual intercession.
“You have come to the right place. Before 24 days, you will come here and give testimony,” Egbuna told the group, and called Susan out to round off the prayer.
Ogwu said, “It was obvious the girl was living under serious subjection. She was almost trembling as she scurried to obey her father.
“We did not make any attempt to confront him the first day. We studied the place and noticed that there was no single sound from any other child within the house. It was as if there was a warning that none of them should make any sound. Neighbours said only one of the children was allowed to venture out to hawk sachet water.
“We came back days later with the police and state government officials to arrest him and he denied fathering the children. He said they were fathered by her daughter’s boyfriend. He was sweating all over as he spoke.”
All the children were transferred to the state government children’s home.
Egbuna is still in custody.
But fast-forward two years. Susan looked radiant at the home. She has changed but the scar is far from being healed. Her current dilemma is what to tell her children when they grow up.
Her two young children were kept inside, out of sight, during the visit to the home. There was no chance to see them.
“The children are really growing up fast. But what do I tell them when they grow up? How can I tell them that my father is their father. I am very confused about that.
“I will like to leave this home later but this place is just too good to us. But I am getting older; I will like to go back to my family. I have forgiven my father for what he did.
“But though  I have forgiven him, I am scarred for life. How do I tell people that I have two children for my father?”
What family to go back to is another major quandary for this young lady, whose journey in life seemed to have been a transcendental punishment.
“None of my father’s or mother’s families has visited us since we were brought here. I don’t know how tomorrow will be but I know God will show the way,” she said.
She had yet to be admitted in school as officials are still considering which class best suits her.
Her children are also still being kept at the home, yet to start school. She is not alone.
Scary future for children raped for two years
Thirteen-year-old Bola (not real name) danced and clapped with her friends; children of the Lagos State Children’s Centre, Idi Araba. It was an end-of-year event in which the children exhibited their talents in various crafts like bead-making and tailoring.
Some of them were younger than Bola, some older. The laughter of the children was a far cry from the journey that had brought most of them to the centre, which houses rescued homeless children, victims of rape and physical abuses.
At that single moment, the sad stories etched in the memories of the young children seemed to vanish. In the crowd was Bola, with her sister Tolu (10) both laughing excitedly.
But the situation that brought these young sisters to the children’s home was far from being a laughing matter.
Bola looked towards the back of the crowd and instantly shot out of the crowd like a lightning bolt; her sister at her heels. She threw her arms around Ogwu, who had just entered the premises. Both Bola and Tolu locked the woman – their rescuer – in a tight embrace. Tears streamed down the face of Bola.
“I did not know you were coming,” the young girl said with a big teary smile.
Bola and Tolu have both spent six months at the home. The woman who rescued them has become someone they love like their own mother.
One evil night in June
Bola and Tolu’s journey to the children’s home was one with a lot of pains. For three years, both children had endured an excruciating sexual abuse from their father, Adetayo Adeleke, a 35-year-old commercial bus driver in Egbeda area of Lagos. But they suffered in silence. They dared not tell anyone; their father would kill them. So they said after their rescue, which Saturday PUNCH reported in July 2013.
One cannot really say what the exact psychological state of these two children are at present because their evaluation in the home could not be revealed by the officials.
But Consultant Child Psychiatrist, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Mashidat Mojeeb-Bello, had an opinion on what victims of the horrible act like the one Bola and Tolu had gone through may face.
She said, “Such victims could develop anxiety and undue fear. In the long term, they could develop major psychiatric problems like depression and other major psychosis later in life.
“The self esteem may be affected in such a way that they may not see themselves worthy of anything good. At some point, some may develop somatisation disorders; they start having some unusual bodily symptoms whose origin becomes untraceable through tests. There is a myriad of psychological impact on such children.”
The magistrate weeps
Adeleke is now facing charges of incest and child defilement at the Family Court, Ikeja and the two sisters were transported to the children’s home.
With tears in her eyes, their mother, Kemi, came to the court with a toddler she had for her new husband.
She had told this correspondent a life of hell she was subjected to in Adeleke’s house.
“He beat me regularly, calling me prostitute just to disgrace me. I suffered with my children. We rarely had food to eat. When I could not take it anymore, I had to leave. It was not like I was starving him of sex. I did not know he was raping my children. May God punish that man,” Kemi said.
In November 2013, during one of the hearings of the case in court, the children were asked to come forward to testify. When they took up the narration of their ordeal, the misty-eyed magistrate could not take it anymore. She had to excuse herself for a moment to wipe her tears in her chambers.
However, months after their rescue, a lot has changed. Bola looked chubby; no longer the haggard looking girl she was when she was rescued. This correspondent spoke with her during the visit of her rescuer to the children’s home.
Asked how she felt about her father at the time, the young girl’s excited face fell like a pack of cards. She looked down at the ground.
 “I know we cannot forget what our father did. This is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives. Here, they tell us to forget the past but how can we forget that our father slept with us?”
“But I want them to release him. I don’t ever want to live with him again. But I have forgiven him. I like it here very much. They should just let him go,” she said.
Bola spoke with a surprising intelligence that was totally in contrast with the beaten and abused child who spoke little when she was rescued.
It was clear a lot had changed.
Will you like to live with your mother as well, she was asked.
  She said, “No o. I don’t want to live with her again. I want to continue to live here because I have a lot of friends here. The other children and our teachers here are very nice.
“When we went to the court last time, my mother did not even come. None of my mother’s family came too. Only our landlord and a woman who is a friend to my mother came.
“My mother has not visited us here since we got here. I don’t even know where she is. In the night, children like me, whose parents have not visited gather to pray that wherever our parents are, God should bring them.”
The younger girl, whose sad eyes still seemed to carry the heavy load of her past ordeal, gave the same answer. She too said she would not want to live with her parents any more.
The home has enrolled Bola and Tolu in schools; the older girl in Junior Secondary School Year One and the younger in Primary Four.
For these two bruised children, nothing could hold them back. Not even the absence of family.
The older girl said she would like to become a lawyer while Tolu said she would like to become a banker.
They only spoke with excitement anytime conversation switched away from their parents.
But when Ogwu spoke of an attempt to contact her mother, Bola rose to her defence immediately.
“Nobody should touch my mother. Don’t do anything to her, please,” she said plaintively.
But she was assured that her mother had not done anything wrong to be arrested.

Father gave them siphilis
After Bola and Tolu were rescued in July, they were taken to the hospital for medical checks. Saturday PUNCH has learnt that their father gave both of them syphilis, a case which had been muted at the time of their rescue. But they were promptly given treatment which got rid of the disease.
A phone number the girls’ mother provided seemed to be out of use, as it had not been going through. Neither does anybody know her address in Oyo State.
It is not an easy road for these children but consistent counselling has been helping them in the home.
“Someone comes to counsel us regularly,” Bola said. “They tell us not to think of what has happened to us in the past. They said we can become something big in life.”
A young female official of the home said Bola has grown to be very intelligent.
“The counselling is really helping her. On top of that, they are both doing well in school. I am confident they will go ahead to live normal life,” she said.
A neighbour’s intervention
If not for a neighbour who promptly raised the alarm on the children’s plight, one can only imagine the kind of situation they would be in by now.
It will be recalled that the landlord of the house in which they live with their father, Mr. Amos Omooye, had said he had no idea that such thing was happening in his house.
The landlord said, “I noticed the children were always crying and I tried as much as possible to provide for them whenever they said they were hungry and their father went to work without leaving them any money for food.
“The children were born in my house and I christened them. But I could not imagine that their father was doing something as terrible as that to them.”

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Rape: Waging a War against this Societal Cancer

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent. The term *rape* is sometimes used interchangeably with the term *sexual assault.*
Internationally, the incidence of rapes recorded by the police during 2008 varied between 0.1 in Egypt per 100,000 people and 91.6 per 100,000 people in Lesotho with 4.9 per 100,000 people in Lithuana as the median.
According to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most under reported violent crime. The rate of reporting, prosecution and convictions for rape varies considerably in different jurisdictions. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999) estimated that 91% of U.S. rape victims are female and 9% are male.
Rape by strangers is usually less common than rape by persons the victim knows, and
several studies argue that male-male and female-female prison rape are quite common and may be the least reported forms of rape.
It is most terrifying to note that the frequency of rape incidents today all over the world has doubled or even tripled according to statistics. All over from India to South Africa, Syria and even to Nigeria, the incidences of rape are now so common and it could even be seen in public
places.
One begins to wonder how this generation has quickly lost its forms of moral and societal values despite the multiplicity of religious centers, schools and even breakthroughs recorded in technology and science.
Rape against the female gender seems to gained acceptance today. We have reported cases of little children less than one year being raped as well as grandmothers of over 70 also being
raped.
Most petrifying is the fact that some of the rape victims have been raped and killed by the rapists later. Some victims have also killed themselves much later due to the pain and stigma associated with the act.
It is indeed alarming how this level of wickedness has grown and expanded in our society. The advent of the social media has also not helped matters in this regard.
On 22 July, 2012, Cynthia Osokogwu, a post-graduate student of Nasarawa State University and a clothing retailer was murdered in Lagos by friends she met on Facebook. The rapists lured her to a hotel in FESTAC Town, drugged and raped her before she was murdered.
Also, the incident when five undergraduates believed to be students of Abia State University who conspired and raped a young woman also brings a sour taste to the mouth. Despite the pleadings of the young girl, the young men still took turns to satisfy their devilish lusts on her. The videos of that incident shook the nation as investigation was launched into the incident
but nothing seems to have come out of it.
In India, the Delhi gang rape case which involved a rape and murder that occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munrika, a neighbourhood located in the southern part of New Delhi, when a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern was beaten and gang raped in a private bus in which she was travelling with a male friend.
There were six others in the bus, including the driver, all of whom raped the woman. The woman died from her injuries thirteen days later while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore
The incident generated widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. Subsequently, public protests against the Government of India and the Government of Delhi for not providing adequate security for women took place in New Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. Similar protests took place in major cities throughout the country.

All the accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused, Ram Singh, died in police custody on 11 March 2013 in the Tihar Jail. According to some published reports, the police say Ram Singh hanged himself, but defense lawyers and his family suspect he was murdered. The rest of the accused went on trial in a fast-track court; the prosecution completed its evidence on 8 July. The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment in a reform facility.

On 10 September 2013, the four remaining adult defendants were found guilty
of rape and murder and three days later were sentenced to death by hanging.

These and a whole lot more sum up the level of decadence our society currently experiences. No one seems safe these days in the hands of rapists and it is up to all of us that make up the society to rise up and root out this devil named Rape from our midst.

Everyone has a role to play in the eradication of this menace from our society. From the homes to religious gatherings, schools to events, the gospel of anti- rape should be preached with all forms of seriousness and vehemence.

Enough is enough of this monster that has grown into the next big crime in our society. Stiffer laws should be created for offenders just like kidnappings and murder because rape has helped to rob our society some of its best hands.

From Government quarters to private quarters, rape should be given a serious attention before we lose our female population to a group of persons who have lost all forms of dignity.
The fight against rape should be total and there should be no sacred cows in the battle against it. All hands must be on deck to ensure that rape is finally expunged from our society.

Everyone has a role to play in tackling this societal cancer. Lawmakers must create stiffer laws, the Judiciary must dispatch justice with speed to offenders and we all must also be our brothers keeper and also report any case of rape to the relevant authorities.

Source

Monday, 16 December 2013

Rape: Osun drags monarch to Appeal Court


Oba Adebukola Alli


The Osun State Ministry of Justice has filed an appeal to challenge the judgment of the State High Court which discharged and acquitted the Alowa of Ilowa, Oba Adebukola Alli.
The monarch was accused of raping a former member of the National Youth Service Corps.
The monarch, who was dragged to court by the ex-corps member, Helen Okpara, was freed by Justice Jide Falola on October 8, 2013 after almost three years trial.
A statement from the Ministry of Justice on Sunday by the Information Officer of the ministry, Mr. Opeyemi Bello, stated that the appeal had been filed at the Court of Appeal, Akure Division.
The state government expressed its displeasure about the case and asked the Appeal Court to convict the monarch for forcefully having carnal knowledge of Okpara who served in the monarch’s domain.
The respondent stated in the notice of appeal filed on December 12 that the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the prosecution failed to tender medical report.
It reads further, “The Investigating Police Officer led evidence to the effect that he took the victim to Osogbo for medical examination after the offence of rape had been committed by the accused.
 “The medical doctor that examined the victim testified as PW1 that she was presented to him for medical examination with the complaint that she was sexually assaulted and that he found bruises on her virginal which suggested struggle in the course of penetration.
“All through the trail, there was no contrary evidence to suggest that medical examination of the victim was not conducted.
“The judgement of the learned trial judge is altogether unmeritorious, unreasonable, unwarranted, perverse and cannot be supported having regard to the totality of evidence adduced before the court.”
The government asked the appeal court to convict the monarch, saying all the ingredients of rape were proved before the lower court.
Opara, who served in Alli’s domain between 2010 and 2011, had claimed that the monarch took her to his private residence in Osogbo, the state capital, where he forcefully had sex with her.
But the monarch denied the claim, saying the ex-corps member was his girlfriend. Opara had said at a press conference that Alli raped her without using a condom.
The former corps member had explained  that she got acquainted with the monarch during the last voters’ registration exercise in Ilowa and he  (Alowa) eventually asked her to assist him to facilitate computer training programme for his subjects.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Two remanded for rape, armed robbery


Prison


Two rape and armed robbery suspects, Samson Obroh, 55, and Joshua Iyeye, 20, have been remanded at Kirikiri Prisons, Apapa, by an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court, on Tuesday.
The magistrate, Miss A.O. Akinde, ordered that the accused be remanded, pending legal advice from the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions.
The accused are residents of No 4A, Atanda Akinremi Street, Orile-Agege, Lagos and No 16, Puposhola St., Ishaga, Lagos, respectively.
The accused are facing a six-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery, stealing and rape.
The Prosecutor, Inspector Chinalu Uwadione, told the court that the accused committed the offences on November 19, 2013 at No 13, Ben Olakunle Street, Fagba, Iju-Ishaga, Lagos.
He said that Obroh and Iyeye, while armed with a  pistol and other weapons, raped and robbed two of their victims.
Uwadione said that the accused robbed one of the victims of her property worth N58, 200.
The prosecutor said, “On November 24, 2013 by 3am at No 2, Adebuji Onikoyi Savage Street, Iju Ishaga, Lagos, the accused also robbed a victim of 400 pounds, two television sets valued at N100,000 and a laptop worth N80, 000.
“Other items included two mobile phones valued at N100, 000 and a wedding ring worth N800, 000.”
The prosecutor added that the accused unlawfully had sexual intercourse with the two victims, without their consent.
He explained that the offences contravene Sections 1 (2), (a), (b) and 5, of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. 398; Volume xxii, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, as amended.
The offences are also punishable under Sections 258 and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
However, the pleas of the accused were not taken.
The magistrate adjourned the case till January 23, 2014, for mention.

Friday, 13 December 2013

6 cultists gang rape 16-yr-old girl

AKURE— SIX boys suspected to be members of a cult known as Blue Angel, have allegedly gang raped a 16-year-old secondary school student in Akure, Ondo State capital.

As 24-year-old school dropout, Yusuf Lawal, was yesterday remanded in Kirikiri Prison custody by a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, for allegedly being in possession of a gun, which was later discovered to be a toy gun.

The boys, who reportedly recorded the act with their mobile phone, while taking their turns on the girl, threatened to upload it on the Internet if she dares to report them to her parents or the Police.
However, two of the alleged rapists have been arrested by officials of the state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, while four others are on the run.

The victim (names withheld) said that the six boys blindfolded her and threatened to rip her open with knife if she failed to cooperate.
Those arrested include Banjo Olasehinde, 25, A.K.A. Obanje Babalowo Sherry and Adewale Fadunsi, 28, a fashion designer.
Those on the run include Tope Oluwole; Tope, A.K.A Jigan and Muyideen, a.k.a. Gbem.
Spokesman of NSCDC in the state, Kayode Balogun, said one of the suspects, Banjo Olasehinde, has confessed to the crime and the fact that they belong to a cult group known as Blue Angel.
According to Balogun, the suspect said they saw the girl on her way from school when one of them invited her for a chat and the six of them raped her.

24-yr-old in prison custody over toy gun

LAGOS— A 24-year-old school dropout, Yusuf Lawal, was yesterday remanded in Kirikiri Prison custody by a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, for allegedly being in possession of a gun, which was later discovered to be a toy gun.

The defendant, who is standing trial before Justice Kudirat Jose, is facing a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, robbery and unlawful possession of firearms, preferred against him.
The prosecuting counsel Adejumo Kester, said that the defendant and others at large on August 14, 2011 at Raji Oba in Alimosho, area of Lagos, conspired among themselves to commit, robbery.

Source

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Man, 74, arrested for sexually abusing boys

Yola: A 74 year old man, Usman Jidda, has been arrested by the Police in Yola for alleged sodomy, the state police command has confirmed.

The Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Mohammed Ibrahim who confirmed the arrest Wednesday told newsmen said that the suspect was arrested in Jimeta area of the metropolis.

The police image maker said the suspect, a mason had been having affairs with four children aged between 13 to 15 years for a long period.

He stated that the suspect usually lure his victims with money and other valuables.

“The father of one of the children took his son that sustain injury in the act to a private clinic prompting the Doctor to alert the police”, Ibrahim said.

The PPRO commended the action of the Doctor pointing out that the parent of the boy had wanted the matter to be buried for fear of stigmatization.

The Police command urged parents to monitor the movements of their wards to guard against such characters that would take advantage of them.

Source

How I raped teenager to death

The Police in Imo State, recently,rounded up the brain behind the death of a 12-year-old girl, Ifunanya Favour Iberi who was declared wanted two months ago by arresting a 34-year-old man identified as Samuel Chukwunyere.   Police alleged that the suspect was responsible for raping the teenager to death and dumping her lifeless body in a deep well.

The missing little Ifunanya was last seen by members of her family on Sunday, October 13, 2013, when she could not return to their house after her day’s routine activities.  Apparently worried by the scaring development, her parents immediately alerted the Imo State Police Command. Their passionate appeal to the Commissioner of Police, Katsina was very simple. “You must please, assist us find our missing daughter.”

Search for suspects

Seeing the depth of grief boldly written on the faces of Ifunanya’s parents, the Imo State police boss assured them of his determination to get to the root of the matter.

Katsina mobilized his men and went after the fleeing criminal. Not long after, a 34-year old artisan from Amaenyi, Nkwerre, Chukwunyere, who lives at Umulolo village, where the missing girl hailed from, was apprehended. This man quickly fled the community when he noticed that he was being linked with the sudden disappearance of little Ifunanya.  The suspect was rounded up few days ago by the police when he quietly returned to the village.

Confession of suspect

In an interview with Crime Alert, the suspect confessed that he actually lured the innocent victim to his house and raped her to death. He also disclosed that he lured the girl to his place because he told her that he bought her a phone, adding as soon as they got to his house and on noticing that the place was lonely, he quickly grabbed the young girl.

His words: “I forced her. I tried to use her through her private part but my own thing could not enter. I now turned her and she started shouting. I now held her well, well. I don’t want anybody to hear her voice. I now started using her through her anus. In the process of using her through the anus, she now shouted and I now held her back again, using her. In the process of using her, she now gave up.”

The suspect also explained how he dumped the remains of his young victim inside a deep pit near his residence to avoid being traced by anybody. “I now asked myself how will I manage to hide the corpse of this girl. I now rock my brain and rock my brain and the shovel that I have there cannot dig the ground. This ground sef na stone ground. I cannot dig it alone. I now searched around my place here and I saw that pit there (pointing to the location of the pit) and I now say let me come and put her inside that pit, so that the place will be enough to hide it. Nobody will know. I now rolled her with some cloths. After12 to one o’clockin the midnight, I now brought her to this place and now throw her inside the pit.”

He also confessed that this was not his first rape case, especially as Crime Alert gathered that several girls in the area had previously fallen victim to his nefarious act.

The State Police boss later took Crime Alert to the scene of crime where the skull of the little girl which was already severed from her body and other decomposing parts believed to be her  remains were lifted from the pit, which contained greenish water.

The-victim-1

Police boss speaks

Speaking to Crime Alert at the scene of the crime, the State Police boss explained that after committing the alleged sordid crime, the suspect threw the lifeless body of the young girl into a nearby well and vowed to bring him to book.

“His arrest and subsequent interrogation encouraged detectives to move to this place where this very horrendous spectacle was again discovered. It is a clear case of sunset at dawn. She may have gone but her soul is seriously crying for justice and this is what I will surely do,” Katsina promised.

Continuing, the Imo police boss said that apart from this sordid incident, investigations also revealed that “this very suspect is a serial killer, serial rapist and is responsible for the missing and death of many of our young girls, not only in Imo State but in some parts of the country.”

While describing the suspect as “an unrepentant killer”, the CP also said that “the man has been involved in many reported cases of ritual-related murders since 2004 till the time he was arrested.  Investigations  into the matter is on-going to unmask all those behind the dastardly act.  I am hoping that pathologists will equally ascertain the real cause of the death of the innocent girl.”

The-hole-1

How suspect was arrested

He recalled that the police had painstakingly been on his trail for about two months since little Ifunanya was reported missing by her parents.  Giving a graphic account of how the suspect was eventually apprehended, the CP explained that soon after the girl was reported missing, the suspect quietly escaped to Aba, Abia State.

“He later sneaked into Nkwerre when he thought that the search for the missing girl had died down. He was, however, wrong because the Ambush Squad of the Command quickly arrested him on getting wind of his return to base.

It is sad to note how people can be very heartless. On noticing that the innocent girl had died in the process of raping her, the suspect carefully but shamelessly threw her remains into a nearby pit.”

Source
The Police in Imo State, recently,rounded up the brain behind the death of a 12-year-old girl, Ifunanya Favour Iberi who was declared wanted two months ago by arresting a 34-year-old man identified as Samuel Chukwunyere.   Police alleged that the suspect was responsible for raping the teenager to death and dumping her lifeless body in a deep well.
The missing little Ifunanya was last seen by members of her family on Sunday, October 13, 2013, when she could not return to their house after her day’s routine activities.  Apparently worried by the scaring development, her parents immediately alerted the Imo State Police Command. Their passionate appeal to the Commissioner of Police, Katsina was very simple. “You must please, assist us find our missing daughter.”
Search for suspects
Seeing the depth of grief boldly written on the faces of Ifunanya’s parents, the Imo State police boss assured them of his determination to get to the root of the matter.
Katsina mobilized his men and went after the fleeing criminal. Not long after, a 34-year old artisan from Amaenyi, Nkwerre, Chukwunyere, who lives at Umulolo village, where the missing girl hailed from, was apprehended. This man quickly fled the community when he noticed that he was being linked with the sudden disappearance of little Ifunanya.  The suspect was rounded up few days ago by the police when he quietly returned to the village.
Confession of suspect
In an interview with Crime Alert, the suspect confessed that he actually lured the innocent victim to his house and raped her to death. He also disclosed that he lured the girl to his place because he told her that he bought her a phone, adding as soon as they got to his house and on noticing that the place was lonely, he quickly grabbed the young girl.
His words: “I forced her. I tried to use her through her private part but my own thing could not enter. I now turned her and she started shouting. I now held her well, well. I don’t want anybody to hear her voice. I now started using her through her anus. In the process of using her through the anus, she now shouted and I now held her back again, using her. In the process of using her, she now gave up.”
The suspect also explained how he dumped the remains of his young victim inside a deep pit near his residence to avoid being traced by anybody. “I now asked myself how will I manage to hide the corpse of this girl. I now rock my brain and rock my brain and the shovel that I have there cannot dig the ground. This ground sef na stone ground. I cannot dig it alone. I now searched around my place here and I saw that pit there (pointing to the location of the pit) and I now say let me come and put her inside that pit, so that the place will be enough to hide it. Nobody will know. I now rolled her with some cloths. After12 to one o’clockin the midnight, I now brought her to this place and now throw her inside the pit.”
He also confessed that this was not his first rape case, especially as Crime Alert gathered that several girls in the area had previously fallen victim to his nefarious act.
The State Police boss later took Crime Alert to the scene of crime where the skull of the little girl which was already severed from her body and other decomposing parts believed to be her  remains were lifted from the pit, which contained greenish water.
The-victim-1
Police boss speaks
Speaking to Crime Alert at the scene of the crime, the State Police boss explained that after committing the alleged sordid crime, the suspect threw the lifeless body of the young girl into a nearby well and vowed to bring him to book.
“His arrest and subsequent interrogation encouraged detectives to move to this place where this very horrendous spectacle was again discovered. It is a clear case of sunset at dawn. She may have gone but her soul is seriously crying for justice and this is what I will surely do,” Katsina promised.
Continuing, the Imo police boss said that apart from this sordid incident, investigations also revealed that “this very suspect is a serial killer, serial rapist and is responsible for the missing and death of many of our young girls, not only in Imo State but in some parts of the country.”
While describing the suspect as “an unrepentant killer”, the CP also said that “the man has been involved in many reported cases of ritual-related murders since 2004 till the time he was arrested.  Investigations  into the matter is on-going to unmask all those behind the dastardly act.  I am hoping that pathologists will equally ascertain the real cause of the death of the innocent girl.”
The-hole-1
How suspect was arrested
He recalled that the police had painstakingly been on his trail for about two months since little Ifunanya was reported missing by her parents.  Giving a graphic account of how the suspect was eventually apprehended, the CP explained that soon after the girl was reported missing, the suspect quietly escaped to Aba, Abia State.
“He later sneaked into Nkwerre when he thought that the search for the missing girl had died down. He was, however, wrong because the Ambush Squad of the Command quickly arrested him on getting wind of his return to base.
It is sad to note how people can be very heartless. On noticing that the innocent girl had died in the process of raping her, the suspect carefully but shamelessly threw her remains into a nearby pit.”
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/12/raped-teenager-death/#sthash.RKkZEPc2.dpuf

Two security men remanded in prison over robbery, rape

Lagos — Two security men, Samson Obroh, 55 and Joshua Iyeye, 20, were yesterday remanded to Kirikiri Prison by an Ikeja Magistrate Court pending the legal advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, over alleged robbery and rape.

The defendants who reside at 4a, Atanda Akinremi Street, Orile-Agege and 16, Puposhola Street, Lagos respectively were ordered to be remanded in prison by Magistrate A. O. Akinde.

The defendants and others at large, committed the alleged offence on November 19, 2013, at about 1 a.m at 13, Ben Olakunle Street, Fagba in Iju Ishaga area of LagosState.

The defendants are facing a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery and stealing and rape, preferred against them by the police.

The prosecutor, Sergeant Chinalu Uwadione, said the defendants while armed with a locally made pistol, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, robbed one Abiodun Ahmed of one Nokia phone valued at N14,000, jewelleries, N25,000; a radio set valued N15,000 and N4,200  cash.

Uwadione told the court that the defendants also raped Abiodun Ahmed.

The prosecutor further noted that the defendants also robbed one Juliana Akinlade of her N400, two TV sets valued N100,000, laptop worth N80,000, two Nokia phones valued N100,000 and a wedding ring worth N800,000.

According to the prosecutor, the defendants raped one Juliana Akinlade.

He said the offences are contrary to section 1 (2) (a) (b) of Armed Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. 398 Vol. XXii, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 as amended.

The offence is also punishable under section 285 (1) of the criminal laws of LagosState of Nigeria 2011.

Earlier, the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Their plea was not taken as the magistrate ordered that they be remanded pending the DPP’s advice.

She, however, adjourned the case to January 23, 2014.

Source
Lagos — Two security men, Samson Obroh, 55 and Joshua Iyeye, 20, were yesterday remanded to Kirikiri Prison by an Ikeja Magistrate Court pending the legal advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, over alleged robbery and rape.
The defendants who reside at 4a, Atanda Akinremi Street, Orile-Agege and 16, Puposhola Street, Lagos respectively were ordered to be remanded in prison by Magistrate A. O. Akinde.
The defendants and others at large, committed the alleged offence on November 19, 2013, at about 1 a.m at 13, Ben Olakunle Street, Fagba in Iju Ishaga area of LagosState.
The defendants are facing a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery and stealing and rape, preferred against them by the police.
The prosecutor, Sergeant Chinalu Uwadione, said the defendants while armed with a locally made pistol, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, robbed one Abiodun Ahmed of one Nokia phone valued at N14,000, jewelleries, N25,000; a radio set valued N15,000 and N4,200  cash.
Uwadione told the court that the defendants also raped Abiodun Ahmed.
The prosecutor further noted that the defendants also robbed one Juliana Akinlade of her N400, two TV sets valued N100,000, laptop worth N80,000, two Nokia phones valued N100,000 and a wedding ring worth N800,000.
According to the prosecutor, the defendants raped one Juliana Akinlade.
He said the offences are contrary to section 1 (2) (a) (b) of Armed Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. 398 Vol. XXii, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 as amended.
The offence is also punishable under section 285 (1) of the criminal laws of LagosState of Nigeria 2011.
Earlier, the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Their plea was not taken as the magistrate ordered that they be remanded pending the DPP’s advice.
She, however, adjourned the case to January 23, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/12/two-security-men-remanded-prison-robbery-rape/#sthash.eTSdFHnR.dpuf

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mrs Jonathan seeks stiff penalties against rape

Paris – The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has called for stiff penalties, backed by effective laws for perpetrators of sexual violence against women.

Mrs Jonathan spoke in Paris, France on Friday, at the advocacy meeting on sexual violence against women.

The meeting was hosted by the First Lady of France, Ms Valerie Trierweiler, on the sideline of the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa holding in Paris.

President Goodluck Jonathan is participating in the peace and security summit attended by world leaders also in Paris.

Mrs Jonathan urged the more than 50 spouses of world leaders attending the summit to use their positions to mobilizes support against sexual violence and other abuses against women.

She said conflict-related sexual abuse should not be regarded as unavoidable or acceptable consequences of war because of their devastating consequences.

She urged leaders and policy makers to continue to promote girl child education, women empowerment and gender equality as critical steps to stop sexual violence against women.

The first lady called on UN member states, especially African leaders, to reassert their commitment to the effective implementation of UN resolutions on women.

She specifically advocated commitment to the implementation of Resolution 1325, which calls for greater protection of women from gender-based violence.

She emphasised the need for strategic collaboration and the inclusion of men in the global response to the problem of rape, saying “behind every rape, there is a man.”

NAN reports that a film on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo was screened for the participants.

The participants also listened to eye witness accounts of situations in Libya and the Central African Republic.

The special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms Zainab Bangura and some of the first ladies in attendance also spoke at the meeting.

They specifically lend a voice to the global call to end sexual violence against women. (NAN)
Paris – The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has called for stiff penalties, backed by effective laws for perpetrators of sexual violence against women.
Mrs Jonathan spoke in Paris, France on Friday, at the advocacy meeting on sexual violence against women.
The meeting was hosted by the First Lady of France, Ms Valerie Trierweiler, on the sideline of the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa holding in Paris.
President Goodluck Jonathan is participating in the peace and security summit attended by world leaders also in Paris.
Mrs Jonathan urged the more than 50 spouses of world leaders attending the summit to use their positions to mobilizes support against sexual violence and other abuses against women.
She said conflict-related sexual abuse should not be regarded as unavoidable or acceptable consequences of war because of their devastating consequences.
She urged leaders and policy makers to continue to promote girl child education, women empowerment and gender equality as critical steps to stop sexual violence against women.
The first lady called on UN member states, especially African leaders, to reassert their commitment to the effective implementation of UN resolutions on women.
She specifically advocated commitment to the implementation of Resolution 1325, which calls for greater protection of women from gender-based violence.
She emphasised the need for strategic collaboration and the inclusion of men in the global response to the problem of rape, saying “behind every rape, there is a man.”
NAN reports that a film on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo was screened for the participants.
The participants also listened to eye witness accounts of situations in Libya and the Central African Republic.
The special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms Zainab Bangura and some of the first ladies in attendance also spoke at the meeting.
They specifically lend a voice to the global call to end sexual violence against women. (NAN)
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/12/mrs-jonathan-seeks-stiff-penalties-rape/#sthash.P5bCXIqP.dpuf

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Man, 50, allegedly rapes 12-yr-old girl

OSOGBO — A 50-year-old man, Tajudeen Omole, has been arraigned before an Osogbo chief magistrate’s court for allegedly having carnal knowledge of a 12-year-old girl.

The accused person was said to have committed the offence on November 27, 2013 at 1, Ikolaba, Osogbo, the capital of OsunState.

It was reliably gathered that the accused went to the house of the victim to ask after her sister who he claimed was his friend.

The sister was not in the house and the accused cunningly lured the girl into her room where he allegedly defiled her.

It was further gathered that although the girl attempted to scream for help, she was over powered.

She, thereafter, reported the case to those she found around the house.

The suspect was later arrested by the residents who  handed him over to the police.

The Police prosecutor, Inspector Solomon Oladele, told the court that the offence committed was punishable under section 218 of the criminal code cap 34 vol II laws of Osun StateNigeria, 2003.

Counsel to the accused, Mr. Okobe Nagite, applied for the bail.

Presiding magistrate, Mr. Olusola Aluko, in his ruling ordered that the accused  be remanded in Ilesha prison while counsel to the accused is to file a formal application for his bail.

Source

My close shave with rape


Azuka Onwuka


After writing countless number of application letters and sitting for some tests in 1995, I was directed to the office of a prominent Nigerian for a job. As the door closed behind me, I noticed that it was an electric door, because the man controlled it with a button on his large desk.

Greetings over, I sat down and stated my mission. He looked at my result, commended it profusely, and promised to fix me up. A ray of hope glimmered in my heart. A job was finally in the horizon, I told myself. Then the music changed. His tone changed and he became chatty and chummy. He began to pry into my private life, asking about my girlfriend. I was uncomfortable. Seeing that I was not forth-coming with details, he reeled out a chain of stories of his sexual escapes with girls. I was no longer at ease. My discomfort mounted. But I tried to relax. Soon after, things fell apart: he stripped and asked me to strip so he could see my manhood. My jaw dropped. I knew that this handshake had gone beyond the elbow. Time to leave, I told myself. But how would I do it without annoying this Big Man, especially one that had promised to fix me up with a job? I chose to bide my time.

He went on with other overtures and demands, cajoling me and making other promises, but I continued to ask him with all the respect I could muster to stop it. Sensing that his words were not effective, he brought out some pornographic magazines from his drawer and dropped them on the table before me, opened. I stood up and told him that I wanted to leave.

I was not sure how he would react, but a few things made me certain that he would be circumspect with me. First was that I could hear the voices of his staff in the outer office. He would not want me to shout, even though I was convinced his staff knew what their boss did behind closed doors. Secondly, he was a person who had held a federal appointment, and would not want a scandal, and I had made up my mind to see Chief Gani Fawehinmi if the man had used force on me. Thirdly, he was a member of the elite group of his noble profession, and he would not like his image tarnished.

He pretended to have been hurt and wondered why I could not do such “a simple thing” for “Chief” who had been so nice to me and had promised to do other special things for me. I thanked him for his kindness and asked him to open the door. I knew that my CV and credentials that I left with him would be shredded once I walked out of the door.

However, the first time I encountered sexual harassment was in boarding school. I heard of homosexuality in school but never witnessed it until a Chapel Prefect, who “liked me so much,” tried it on me. Some public holidays fell on the two days before the weekend and many students travelled out of the hostels. He was the only prefect in the prefect’s cubicle, and asked me to join him and keep me company that night. I suspected nothing when he locked the door, which opened into hall where other students were. We chatted for a long time. Then he moved over to my bed so we could talk quietly, as it was late. I was surprised when he began to touch me strangely. Since he was a senior and a prefect, I took his hands off with respect. I noticed that he was sexually aroused. Then he came back with more force and persistence.


I pushed him off, rose from the bed without a word, opened the door and went to my bed. I thought that was the end of the story. No. The next day, for some flimsy reason, he unleashed some strokes of the cane on me and then completed the thrashing with his hands. He was like an enraged bull. Nobody would ever imagine that it was the same Azuka he “liked” so much that he was beating like a criminal. Ours was a school where the prefects were feared more than the teachers. That was the end of our friendship.

On November 25, the world marked another International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. If as a man growing up in a country where homosexuality is publicly condemned I was sexually harassed, how does a woman fare in this nation? Right from birth, the girl child is vulnerable. She is the constant target of paedophiles: uncles, cousins, domestic servants, teachers, instructors, neighbours, religious guides.

As she becomes a teenager, there are amorous advances from classmates, teachers and other adults. If she rejects such advances, she is beaten up most times. Sometimes, she is lured into a lonely place by someone she trusts and is gang-raped. She may even be killed after the rape. If she is unfortunate to be an orphan or from a poor home, even the man under whose roof she lives may end up using her as his sex tool even while she is as young as 14 years. If she says no, she is thrown out.
When she gets into the university, she is faced with an assault from male students, including violent members of different university cults, as well as lecturers. If she does not accept to be sexually exploited by the lecturer, she may be failed. If she is an intelligent student, the lecturer would give her the lowest grade of pass, to dent her overall result.
Then when she is out of the university in search of jobs, her fate becomes like that of a lamb thrown into a jungle filled with wolves. Many men would demand sex to give her a job, even when she is qualified for the job. Even when she gets the job, her bosses would constantly sexually harass her. And when she rises by a dint of diligence and performance, she is accused of using “bottom power.” If she wants to act in a movie, producers and directors demand sex. If she wants to be a model, the modelling agent demands sex. If she wants to go into politics, godfathers demand sex.

In her relationships, if she falls out with a man, the man bathes her with acid or gets her beaten up or even raped. When she is married, most  disagreements with her husband end up in a beating. The excuse is that her mouth runs like a typewriter. But then you ask the men that give such excuses for beating their wives if they beat their female bosses when such female bosses unleash the venom in their tongue on them? Don’t they usually take the venom from their bosses silently? If they can take the venom of their female bosses quietly, why not also take the venom from their wives and use other means to get back at the wife, if they must?

But it does not end there: If her husband dies in his prime, even through an auto crash, she is accused of killing him. She may get thrown out of her home without a kobo by greedy in-laws. If she is lucky to have a husband who wrote a will or included his wife’s name in his property, she may be lucky not to lose everything. If she is blessed with longevity, she is termed a witch, especially if some of her children have died before her. She is accused of renewing her life with the blood of her children.
Any time a lady walks into my office in search of a job, I remember the ordeal I went through in the office of that Big Man. Harming or sexually exploiting a woman is cowardice, not bravery. What if it were your daughter, sister or mother?

Monday, 2 December 2013

Stemming gender and sexual based violence

By Chukwudi Nweje

The phrase violence against women is a technical term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women. Similar to a hate crime, which targets specific people probably because of their race, violence against women is primarily committed with the victim’s gender as a primary motive.

The United Nations General Assembly defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) states that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.” The Declaration further noted that violence against women could be perpetrated by assailants of either gender, family members and even the State itself.

The UN has designated 25 November as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Worldwide governments and organisations observe this day and actively work to combat violence against women through a variety of programs. As part of activities to mark the International day for the Elimination of Violence against women, the UN has dedicate sixteen days tagged 16 days to activities and campaigns to end violence against women. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. The sixteen days spanning from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to December 10, the international Human Rights Day is used as an organising strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by: raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels; strengthening local work around violence against women; establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women; providing a forum in which organisers can develop and share new and effective strategies; demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organising against violence against women; and, creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.

In Lagos, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, a nongovernmental, non profit organisation also observed the activities with a panel discussion and presentation of books on gender based violence. The event tagged “Panel Discussion and Presentation of Books in Commemoration of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, 2013 held at the Lagos State Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Alausa. Under the theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World”, the event was also used as a forum to discuss issues bothering not just on violence against women, but gender based violence, including sexual abuse and how to eliminate them. Speaker after speaker, all the discussants agreed that issues of gender based violence deserve urgent attention and that immediate steps must be taken to stem them.
In her presentation, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, Vice President World Bank, African region who was a special guest at the event traced some of the cases of violence against women which culminated to the United Nation taking a stand on the need to stem violence against women.

Particularly, she recalled two case, the firs on November 25, 1960 when the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961)  in the Dominican Republic superintended the brutal murder of three Mirabal sister : Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa all political activists for daring to criticise his oppressive rule. The second was on December 6, 1989 when a young man brandishing a firearm burst into a college classroom at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada.  The gunman, 25-year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a legally obtained Mini-14 rifle and a hunting knife moved through the college corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. By the time Lépine turned the gun on himself, 14 women were dead and another 10 were injured. Four men were hurt unintentionally in the crossfire.  In Canada, December 6, is a Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, but November 25 is an international day dedicated to the same cause.
According to Ezekwesili, who decried both instances of violence against women just because of their gender, gender based violence occurs mainly because of the erroneous belief that there is inequality between the sexes. She said that based on that belief, abusive men physically attack women at the slightest excuse, including on issues that they would ordinarily not react had they been dealing with a fellow man.

She said violence against women thrives because of what she termed “the culture of impunity” and the “conspiracy of silence” whereby people in position of authority to punish these acts of violence including the Police intentionally or unintentionally condone it by not taking appropriate action to punish the perpetrators. She argued that “a problem not punished is a problem accepted” pointing out that “an abused woman is already devalued in her own mind set and most times will not be able to achieve her full potentials.”
She added that with women as builders of the society, violence against women will also negatively affect the society as a whole because the women would not be in a position to contribute their full potential to national development. On why the menace must be eliminated, she said the UN resolutions identify women’s rights as fundamental human rights and as such, violation of women’s rights is a violation of fundamental rights.

In her contribution, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who was represented by a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation observed that available statistics show that at least one in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her life time. “An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year and 50 % of domestic violence victims are women. It has been established that both physical and psychological violence against women result in physical injury, depression, low self esteem, trauma, stress and other health related problems and may sometimes result in death,” she noted.

According to her, “it is not only the victim that suffers from this ugly situation. Children also get hurt when they see their mothers being maltreated, yelled at, pushed or hit. They experience confusion, stress and shame. Some of them may likely grow up learning that it is a normal way of life to hurt other people or let others hurt them.”  The deputy governor also established a correlation between family violence and juvenile delinquencies, arguing that such children “have a six times greater chance of committing sexual assaults crimes and a 50 per cent greater likelihood of abusing drugs and alcohol. We must therefore rise and say no to violence against women. The prevalence of violence against women is unacceptable and condemnable. We must all join hands and stop those who still perpetrate this crime. Relevant legal provisions must be enforced and perpetrators brought to book as a deterrent to others.
“Let me also state that our government is irrevocably committed to all legal and advocacy strategies that will effectively reduce and eradicate every form of violence against our women and girls. We will raise the bar of our advocacy and sensitise all stakeholders on the importance of supporting the global advocacy campaign. Relevant law enforcement agencies are also supported by our government to ensure strict enforcement of law and prosecution of offenders,” she said.

The Panel Discussion on Sexual Abuse while condemning all forms of sexual abuse, noted that it could only be eliminated if everyone join hands to fight it. This is even as they agreed that majority of sexual abuse are committed by people the victim knows, loves and trusts.

Emmanuella Braide, who experienced gender based violence first hand, argued that “evil thrives because people keep quiet.” She noted that gender based violence and sexual abuse will continue until the public begin to not only speak against it but also act against it. Recounting her experience, she confirmed that her attacker was not a stranger as he was someone she had transacted business with earlier. She said that sexual abuses leave the victim traumatised but that victims should not give in to the trauma but pick up and overcome it. She said that one of the ways to overcome the trauma was for the victim to understand that the attack was not her fault, even as she should also confront the attacker.

Also speaking, praise Fowowe advocated stiffer action against men that abuse women. He blamed failure in parenting and the social media for the decadence in the society. He however warned that contrary to general belief, that sexual abuse affects both male and female children, arguing that abuses against boys is even more rampant.

On how to stem the tide, he advocated community parenting whereby every parent should be able to correct and discipline an earring child. Fowowe who said he was raised under such circumstance argued that until responsible adults take up the challenge of raising and mentoring every child the war against juvenile delinquency may not be won.
He blamed the social media which he said is turning from an instrument of good to that that promotes and celebrates vices. He lamented that so many websites today have detailed instruction on how to commit crimes including sexual abuses and rape. For instance, he said the men who gang raped a woman in the video of the Abia State University gang rape which was widely circulated on the internet were probably following instructions from one of such sites. He also blamed artistes who now celebrate videos that encourage vices rather than those that promote virtue urging them to stop such celebration of vices as they give children the wrong impressions about character building. “We need to mentor and groom our boys the right way. We need to build systems that will help stem the tide of abuses,” he said.

Fowowe also advised women to strive to empower themselves arguing that the common reports of the police being unwilling to act when cases of abuses are reported to them would not arise if women were in the right positions in the force. “If a woman who has been abused is there on the counter and another woman comes to report a case of sexual abuse, knowing her experiences, I’m sure that female officer will not laugh and make jokes about sexual abuse,” he said.

On her part, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, a clinical
Psychologist argued that violence debases a woman, adding that children who observe their fathers beat their mother will most likely grow up believing that violence is an acceptable norm in marriage. She said that while marriage is a sacred institution, “when it comes to choosing between the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life, the sanctity of life comes first.”

Earlier in her remark, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, Founder/Executive Director Project Alert on Violence Against Women, had noted that the greatest problem in gender based violence is impunity whereby the perpetrators feel they have the right to abuse others. According to her if issues of gender based violence and sexual abuse is to be successfully meted, everyone must ask him or herself if they are part of the problem or part of the solution.

She said that dealing with victims of abuse requires dedicated care as the trauma goes beyond addressing the physical signs insisting that there are also the emotional and psychological trauma which also needs to be addressed before the victim can completely heal.

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