Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Rape: Nigeria is not protecting its women – Onyeka Onwenu

Veteran singer cum Director of Women Affairs, Onyeka Onwenu has opined that the Nigerian constitution lacks adequate protection rights for Nigerian women.

Onwenu who recently was allegedly accused of assault by an Abuja based business woman, further spoke on the need for government and the society to rise against all forms of crimes against women.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Onyeka suggested steps to ending the rising cases of rape in the country.

“I think rape has always been part of our society, and we have not given it prominence because the security agents, like the police, do not take it seriously. It is a crime against womanhood, but it is not given the attention it deserves. That is because we have not really given women their due. Nigeria has not really protected the women.

“We do have domestic violence, rape and others, but when it is reported to the police, they will simply say just go and settle it. They will even blame it on the woman, by telling her, eh na you cause am, na the way you they waka provoke the man (meaning that she sexually provoked the man by her seductive steps).

“Other societies have taken steps to increase the sanction attached to rape. It is such a violation of your person; you have no right, no personhood. It goes to suggest that you are a piece of property to be used; and it is up to the police and the society to deal with it. Women must report rape, no matter the stigma that is attached to it.

“You know when the reportage of rape increases; we can now use that as a tool to bring the enforcement down. That will make it totally unacceptable and all the government agencies will now enforce the law and bring it to the forefront. So, when it happens, we will then hold on to the police and say you must prosecute.
Anybody caught in such act must be punished; the person should go to jail to prevent him from doing it to the next woman.

Stressing on the inadequacy of protection rights for Nigerian women, the songwriter said “The police feel no obligation to prosecute sex offenders. They see rape is a little thing. They would say rape is just a crime against women. Or when a husband beats the wife into coma they will say go and settle it at home. The same home where you were nearly killed? I think women should be able to access a lawyer in pushing their cases.

“Yes, all that should follow so that as the police take it more seriously, the society will take it more seriously too. The more people get punished, and the more people speak up against it, the more we stand to make success in protecting women’s rights. We can say ‘oh, women, you really have to go there and be screaming and demonstrating, and then we will take it seriously.’ No, everything must go hand in hand. Our lawmakers as well must take it seriously. Any crime against a woman is crime against the family.” She concluded

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