(Hamza Suleiman, NAN)
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Borno, says it has recorded about 500 cases of sexual abuse and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the past five months.
Mrs Jummai Mshelia, NHRC’s Coordinator in the state, made the disclosure at a rally to drum support for the campaign against rape and other forms of sexual abuse, on Tuesday in Maiduguri.
Mshelia lamented that the commission recorded at least three cases of rape on a daily basis, while dozens of such cases were under-reported in the state.
She decried that the spate of rape was “alarming” in the state, adding that the lukewarm attitude of families of the victims to report the cases precipitated the surge of sexual abuse in the society.
Mshelia added that domestication of the Child Rights Act in the state would ensure punishment of the culprits, enhance justice to the victims and protection of the children.
“Some parents are afraid to report such cases because of stigma while some do not have the money to access justice,” she said.
Mshelia urged the state government to provide funding to support the welfare of victims of sexual violence, stressing that: “We need shelter in the state because some of the victims come and do not have a place to stay.”
According to her, the commission is working in collaboration with the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Maiduguri (NSPH), for management of physically traumatised victims.
The coordinator added that the commission was also partnering with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, National Agency for Protection of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), FIDA and other development organisations to stem violence against women and children in the state.
Also speaking, the NAPTIP Northeast Zonal Commander, Mr Mitika Ali, tasked parents to protect the right of their children by ensuring that perpetrators were prosecuted.
Ali said that state command was currently investigating 10 suspects for alleged sexual violence, adding the suspects would be charged to court.
The Wife of the Borno State Governor, Hajiya Falmata Zulum, said that she identified with causes that affect the lives of women in the state.
Zulum, represented by Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, the Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, said the state government would work with other agencies to address the menace.
“We must collectively join hands to say no to child abuse,” she said, adding that Gov. Babagana Zulum had initiated programmes to enhance child protection and development.
“We have programmes designed to cater for the women that were abused as well as the vulnerable children whose parent were killed by the insurgents by giving them opportunities to acquire education.
“About 200 of them attending schools in Kano at the expense of the government.
“We have also sponsored female child especially the orphans at the University in Sudan to study medicine,” she said.
Zulum disclosed that the state government had also set up a safe space in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to provide skills acquisition training to victims of sexual abuse.
She said that dozens of the affected persons had been trained on tailoring; beads, pomade and soap processing, among others.
“The state government distributed resettlement packages to the beneficiaries to enable them to engage in productive activities and become self-reliant.