John Adams, Minna
As the war against sexual abuse continues, no fewer than 52 persons have been convicted and sentenced to various jail term for sexual abuse in Niger State by Rayuwa Sexual Assault Referral Centre in the last four years.
Niger state Coordinator of Rayuwa Sexual Assault Refeeral Centre, Dr. Yinka Umeh disclosed this, in Minna, on Wednesday, at the end of a one day workshop on community sensitisation and awareness creation for transport workers and other stakeholders on reduction of sexual and gender based violence in the state.
The Rayuwa Sexual Assault Referral Centre is a Union of people from different professional background with the aim of checking the rising cases of sexual abuse and violence against the girl-child and women in the society.
Umeh said the centre in collaboration with different agencies of government like the police, the state security service, the state judiciary, human rights organization and the child right agency, have been able to prosecute and send the offenders to different terms of prison.
She said the centre had since 2014, received well about 250 cases of sexual abuse since its inception in 2014, “out of which we have secured conviction for 52 offenders”.
She pointed out that Rayuwa is still investigating some other cases and will prosecute them immediately investigations were completed, even as it had counsel and rehabilitated several victims which are mostly underage girls.
She, however, said the figure represents the reported cases only, adding that the figure of abuse may be higher.
The Coordinator added that in most cases the offenses are not reported due to fear of stigmatisation and other factors by the victims.
She explained that the offenders are mostly relations, teachers and religious leaders who in one way or the other connected to the victims.
She urged more volunteers to join the crusade in riding the society of the menace, while also calling for support from stakeholders such as traditional and community leaders.
Speakers at the occasions advocated for stringent punishment for the offenders; securing the school environment; formation of different poverty alleviation programmes, among others as ways of ending the menace.