From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
It is eight days into the year 2021 and the Gombe State command of Nigeria Police Force (NPF) says it has received over seven reported cases of rape in the last six days of the New Year that is in addition to the over 250 cases reported in 2020.
According to the police, rapists are on the rampage and that the menace has become a trending crime in the state, which the state commissioner of police said is unacceptable.
The Police Commissioner in charge of the state command Maikudi Shehu assured that effort to tackle the menace by relevant stakeholders is in the pipeline. The CP stated this while parading a syndicate of four suspects arrested for raping 10 and 14-year-old girls in the state.
He assured the good people of the state of their safety, saying the police was working to rid the state of criminal elements while seeking more support from the community in terms of information sharing.
However, to the state government, the cases may be on the increase, but it is a good sign that victims, survivors and people are coming out to report the incident as it occurs instead of covering up and leaving the menace to eat up the state from inside.
The government spoke through the State Commissioner of Internal Security and Ethical Orientation, Mr. Dauda Zambuk, who assured that the state government was working to ensure criminality was nipped in the bud.
He revealed that the state’s Executive Council has approved the establishment of an outfit to support the police in ensuring safer society across the state. Mr. Zambuk said that plan is to recruit about 3, 080 vigilantes, hunters and other groups in the new outfit that would assist especially in areas not coved by the police.
He added that the recruit will be deployed to the 114 wards of the state. “This will help address issues of insecurity such as banditry and kidnapping,” he said while assuring that the issue of rape will form part of the priorities for the newly established group.
Information from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) suggest that to tackle the menace the state government needs to domesticate the Child Right Act (CRA) and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in the state.
According to Hajiya Zariyatu Abubakar, that was because most rape victims in the state are minors and that provision in the two-act tends to hand perpetrators with an iron fist. “The government and other stakeholders need to put in more effort.
There is a need for more awareness and sensitization while also laws should be enacted to properly punish perpetrators of such act,” said Zariyatu, executive director, Wildan Care Foundation.