Thursday, 4 December 2014

Rise in rape of minors: Commissioner raises alarm

The Plateau State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has raised alarm over the increasing rate of rape of minors in the State and appeals to parents of victims to stop covering up such act due to shame but come forward to report same as rape is a criminal offense against the State.

The Ministry’s Commissioner, Mrs. Sarah Yusuf, who spoke with Vanguard Metro, VM, through the Ministry’s Director of Child Welfare, Mr. Gwamfar Kannap, decried the alarming increase in the rape of minors by older men, a situation only heard about in far places.

The Commissioner who attributed the increase to drunkenness, rituals and other factors further lamented the unwillingness of parents and relations of victims to come forward with timely information due to fear of stigmatisation, ignorance and shame despite series of sensitization campaign. She stated that in recent months, the Ministry has received over 10 cases involving girls between the ages of five and 15 with the suspected rapists being between the ages of 30 and 70.

Mrs. Yusuf added that it is worrisome that the nefarious act is not limited to tribe or religion because those arrested cut across the adherents of Muslim, Christian religions and the traditionalists.

According to the Commissioner: “It is alarming the rate of reported cases of rape of minors in the State in recent weeks. We never really have this problem in the past, this is a new phenomenon and it is becoming a problem for us.

“Many factors are contributing to it. One of these is traditional medicine. Some believe that if you have HIV and you sleep with a girl who is a virgin, you will be cured. Some see that as a way of advancing their political ambitions. There are the issues of poverty and drugs we need to also be addressed.”

Successful prosecution

Meanwhile, the Commissioner stressed that “so far, one person has been successfully prosecuted and jailed, seven cases are pending in various courts and three persons are currently in detention.”

However, recent cases in the Corner Shagari area of Jos North involving a teenage girl and six men, that involving a three-year old and a middle aged man at Tudun Wada area of the local government as well as that of a five year old girl and a man in his 30s at Bukuru in Jos South local government area among several that necessitated an alarm being raised.

The State Police Command through the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Abuh Emmanuel confirmed there has been increase in the reports of rape cases from across the State, saying that “there is increase awareness that rape is a serious crime. We are arresting, investigating and prosecuting suspects because we want to sound a warning to others to desist from such criminal act.”


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