Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The high rate of rape cases in the country has attracted the attention of the Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo and the wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu. They are worried and the due is leading an onslaught against the menace.
They have jointly embarked on series of sensitisation and advocacy programmes. Recently, they led a march recently to campaign against rape and sexual abuse. The march took them to motor parks, markets and streets in Akure to bring an end to the ugly incidence.
From the palace of the Deji, Akeredolu alongside female political office holders and some female chiefs who are members of the Deji-in Council, moved to Oyemekun and Oba Adesida roads. They addressed the people, especially the female folks and distributed handbills and other printed materials to sensitise girls against rape.
The monarch specifically asked the people ton bring suspected rapists to his palace, threatening that to use traditional means to punish rape suspects. Oba Aladetoyinbo who said God and the law of the land are against rape:
“Common sense is also against the evil act. Anyone suspected to be involved in rape will not go scout free but face the wrath of the gods of the land. Rape cases have reached alarming level that all hands must be on deck to checkmate. Life imprisonment should be the punishment for any person involved in rape.
“Bring anybody suspected of rape to the palace. We have special water that we shall give to the suspect. Once the person drinks the water, the curse shall be on him for life.
“You don’t have to catch the person in action. Once you suspect anybody, we shall make him to drink the water before we hand him over to the police for proper action. But I will deal with the issue first. Rapists should be sentenced to life imprisonment.”
The monarch stressed the need for the traditional institution to condemn the act and device traditional means to tackle the menace and punish those caught in the illicit act.
Participants at the road show carried placards of various inscriptions including, “Rapist Should Rot in Jail; Rapists Are Animals; No Mercy For Rapist; Safe My Dignity, I am Your Daughter, Judiciary Should Fast Track Rape Cases,” etc, to create awareness even as they chanted songs.
Akeredolu said everybody must come together to speak and take action against rape, just as she advised parents to look after their female children and protect them against any form of abuse. She cautioned young girls: “Our ladies must learn how to dress decently, especially when they are going out. They should also know the kind of male friends they keep.
“It is dangerous to go to party with male friends that they don’t trust. Government is not taking the case of rape lightly. Any individual caught raping will be prosecuted by the police and I will show interest in such matter.”
She called on well-meaning individuals to join hands together to fight the menace of rape in the society. She urged teachers and parents to inculcate discipline and morals in female children. Akeredolu was represented at the event by the Commissioner for Women Affiars and Social Development, Mrs Titilayo Adeyemi.
Participants at the march include members of various non-governmental organisations, teachers and students of both secondary and tertiary institutions. A participant, Tosin Enilabaye, said the march would go a long way at curbing rape especially among the youths. She added that similar programme would be organised in other major towns in the state, while sensitisation programmes would be organised for rural dwellers.
She noted that good number of female children have been victims of rape, hence the need to take drastic measures to prevent the devilish act. She enjoined the government to take rape cases seriously, even as she called on the judiciary to give accelerated hearing to rape cases, adding that the offence should attract death sentence.