Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Barring any last-minute changes in plans, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has announced that it will hold a solidarity rally in Benin City, Edo State, on Thursday, to demand urgent action from the Nigerian government and other authorities regarding the rising incidences of rape in the country.
The planned demonstration is in response to the gangrape and murder a few days ago of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 100-Level female student of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Benin (UniBen).
A similar outrage was reported not long after regarding an 18-year-old female student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Apata, Ibadan, Barakat Bello, who was reportedly raped and killed at her home in Ibadan.
The cases have generated a huge public outcry and condemnation from different political, religious and community leaders.
NANS President Danielson Akpan told Daily Sun in a telephone conversation that the objective of what is planned to be a peaceful protest is to register their discontent with the rising cases of rape and murder of female students and to also demand justice for the late Vera Omozuwa and Barakat Bello.
The protesting students said they have had enough of these cases, calling on the government to take stiffer measures and punishment that would serve as a deterrent to others who might want to engage in such outrages.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, encouraged rape victims to always speak up in order to obtain justice.
She allayed fears that there is no justice for rape victims because of a lack of concrete evidence to prove the case, particularly in the law court, assuring victims that there is justice if they take the necessary steps to pursue their case.
‘If we stop being afraid of stigma and speak up loudly, then justice would be served. Regrettably, victims of rape are always eager to clean up themselves when such happens and pretend that it never happened because of stigma. But that is wrong. Quickly report to a medical doctor in that state for proper examination and certification. Back it up with police report and be sure of justice,’ she said.