Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Speaker of the Kebbi State House of Assembly, Hon Samaila Abdulmumin Kamba, has disclosed that an eight-year-old girl was allegedly defiled by a man in his constituency.
Kamba disclosed this on Thursday during the visit of a coalition of human rights groups to the House of Assembly on the passage of the Child Right Act and other pending Bills meant for the protection of women and girls against rape and sexual violence in Kebbi State.
The Speaker, who urged the state government to declare a state of emergency on sexual violence, said he had transferred the case to the state CID for proper investigation.
According to him, ‘just recently, precisely, last week, a case was reported from my constituency that somebody raped an eight-year-old girl and we have forwarded the matter to the state CID,’ he said.
Kamba assured the Human Rights Associations in the state that the Kebbi Assembly is ready to implement any bill that is brought to the House, especially if it is aimed at good governance.
‘Let start with the “Child Right Act”, which this House had been trying to pass into law since 2017, but there are some problems therein. The Act had so many issues that contradict our societal norms and religious beliefs,’ he said.
‘So, we called for the domestication of this bill so that it can be passed into law. We are still on this domestication which is not supposed to come from the House of Assembly but from the Executive through the Ministry of Justice for a proper appraisal.’
He identified rape, child abuse, minor defilement, and other sexual violence as issues causing a serious problem not only in Kebbi but all over Nigeria.
Earlier, the leader of the group, Zarah Ahmad, told the Speaker and the lawmakers that they were in the House to urge them to pass all the bills and other pending legislation before them for the protection of women and girls against rape and other forms of sexual violence.
‘We, the undersigned Human Rights Advocates and Non-Governmental Organisations on behalf of the entire women and girls in the state are, hereby, expressing our solidarity to the victims of rape and other forms of sexual abuse across states in Nigeria. We are part of the national protest happening in every state of the Federation under the auspices of National Women’s Right Group supported by Action Aid and funded by Global Affairs Canada and are gravely concerned by the state of the nation in regard to the abuse, violence, rape, and murder of Nigeria women.
‘We note that rape is not only a criminal offense per S .357 and 358 of the criminal code Act, S. 258 of the Penal code Act and S.1 of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act VAPP(2015), it constitutes the breach of fundamental rights to dignity, freedom from inhumane treatment and in many cases as demonstrated above, the violation of the right to life enshrined in chapter 4 of the Nigerian constitution.
‘In view of this, we, therefore, urge the Honourable members of Kebbi State House of Assembly to deploy your good offices to ensure that all pending bills in the House meant for legislation to protect women’s rights and girls against any form of sexual gender-based violence are passed and domesticated into laws with immediate effect for justice to be upheld.
‘Our request becomes necessary in view of the number of rape incidences across Kebbi State that have left many women, including minors and their families, devastated, injured, and sometimes dead. Very often, the perpetrators have escaped justice or received justice not commensurate to the emotional, physical, and moral damage inflicted on the victims and their families.
‘We are here today as mothers, wives, sisters, girls and more importantly as potential victims of rape to call on you to use the power bestowed to you and your office to take urgent action to address this challenge… We are also demanding for declaration of a state of emergency on sexual gender-based violence in the state and nation at large.’