Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has disclosed that in the first five months of the year about 717 rape incidents were reported across the country with 799 suspects arrested.
“Law enforcement agents have been dealing with this cases; in most cases, members of the public are not aware of the actions that law enforcement agents have been taking. The Police so far from January-May 2020, have recorded about 717 rape incidents that were reported across the country, about 799 suspects have been arrested, 631 cases conclusively investigated and charged to court and 52 cases were still under investigation,” he said.
He made the disclosure while briefing journalists after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari which also had the ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Women Affairs Development, Pauline Tallen, in attendance. The Federal Government had at the last Federal Executive Council meeting announced that it will take decisive action against rapists, describing the upsurge in rape cases as embarrassing.
As part of measures to curb the crime, the government decided to push for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPPA) 2015 in states, to ensure rapists face deserved punishment for their actions.
Governors of the 36 states have also declared a state of emergency on gender-based and sexual violence.
According to the IGP, although the COVID-19 restrictions brought a surge in rape and gender based violence, the police had been tackling the scourge with the help of some Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations.
“The NGOs and CSOs that have the capacity to deal with this kind of offences have been cooperating with law enforcement agencies in capacity building, management of victims of rape and similar offences and procedures for collecting evidence, towards successful prosecution. The government has taken the matter to another level now because of the scourge we have noticed. I will call on every Nigerian that has or comes across any victim of sexual offences or rape or gender based violence to quickly report to law enforcement agents. Because, keeping it without reporting it,will give room for perpetrators to continue to commit the offences.
“It is a very wicked offence; very wicked of an individual to engage in rape or defilement. And there are a lot of causes, some are doing it for ritual purposes, some because they are within the family and they see the victims and have the urge to go and do it. But such people should not be allowed to go scot-free. I am informing that government is doing something about it.
“From now onward, national partnership with every stakeholder is what we are going into and not only within the country, but within the sub-region. We have to partner with organisations that are involved in this. We know we have been working seriously with UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and other civil society organisations.”