Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has disclosed that the force has for the first five months of the year, 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 while 52 cases are left and under investigation.
He made the disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents, after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari which also had the ministries of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Women Affairs Development, Pauline Tallen, in attendance.
Recall that the Federal Government had at the last Federal Executive Council meeting, announced that it will take decisive action against rapists, henceforth, describing the upsurge as embarrassing.
As part of the measures, it has 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.
The Governors of the 36 states of the federation had also declared a state of emergency on gender-based and sexual form of violence.
According to the IGP, although the COVID-19 restrictions brought a surge in rape and gender based violence, the police has been tackling the scourge with the help of some non-governmental organizations and Civil Society Organisations working in the field.
The Police Boss said: “We are here to brief you on sexual and gender based violence and the action that the government has been taking, particularly the Nigeria Police.
“It has come to the public knowledge now that because of the COVID-19 restrictions, we have surge in cases of rape and gender-based violence. These are cases that are now coming up but we want to let members of the public know that, rape and gender based violence has been there. The law enforcement agents have been dealing with this cases, in most cases, members of the public are not aware of the actions that the law enforcement agents have been taking.
“The Nigeria Police so far from January-May 2020, we 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 are left and under investigation.
“The police and other security agencies and other non-governmental Organisations have been collaborating, to see to it that these cases of rape and gender based violence are dealt with.
“The NGOs and CSOs that have the capacity to deal with this kind of offenses, have been cooperating with law enforcement agencies in capacity building, management of victims of rape and similar offenses 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 offenses or rape or gender based violence, to quickly report to law enforcement agents. Because, keeping it without reporting it will give room for the perpetrators to continue to commitment the offenses.
“It is a very wicked offense, it is very serious offense, it is 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 are doing it because they are within the family and they see the victims and have the urge to go into it and do it. But such people should not be allowed to go scot-free.
“I am just to inform you that government is doing something about it and you can see me with the ministries of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Women Affairs Development, Pauline Tallen.
“From now onward, national partnership with every stakeholder is what we are going into now and not only within the country but within the subregion. We have to partner with organizations 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 organizations.
“So, just to tell you that government is doing something seriously to curtailed this type of offense.