Lack of interest among many political leaders to join in the fight against child abuse and sexual violence has been highlighted as one of the major challenges in curtailing the activities of child molesters, paedophiles, and sex offenders.
The assertion was made by former lawmaker, Ben Murray-Bruce at a child protection stakeholders’ conference organised by the Ben Bruce Foundation recently.
The meeting, organised in conjunction with the Advocates for Child and Vulnerable Persons Network(ACVPN) and ParenChild360 ( PCI360), was recently held in Lagos.
The conference tagged ‘Addressing the Lacuna in Child Abuse and Sexual Violence Prosecution’ had members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), police officers, community leaders, state government officials and media professionals in attendance.
While decrying the rising spate of rape and the huge challenges in ensuring justice for victims, he said: “Rape is a terrible crime. There is no excuse for raping a child. But it’s quite sad because I’ve met a lot of politicians that don’t even believe that rape is a problem. We need to do more to protect our children from rapists and also ensure that rape survivors get adequate treatment. More attention must be paid to therapy. Because when one is raped, anger is planted in his/ her heart. So it is important to help them heal of the trauma. Then there should be more media attention during the prosecution of paedophiles and sex offenders.”
He encouraged the police and other concerned groups not to be deterred by the challenges, urging them to ensure that rapists and child abusers are brought to book.
“It is true that we’re faced with social, political and economic difficulties in getting justice, but we must resolve by ourselves never to give up in the fight on child abuse and sexual violence.”
The ACVPN coordinator, Mr. Ebenezer Omejalile assured that his group would remain unflinching in the fight against rape and abuse of children. He called for synergy among the stakeholders towards ensuring better protection of the Nigerian child.
“We in the CSOs encounter so many difficulties in seeking justice for rape survivors. That’s why we had to bring stakeholders to a roundtable, so we can rub minds together, to see how we can work together and aid each other in the prosecution of rape and child abuse cases.”
An official of Lagos State Government from the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, said the state has made provisions to ensure better child protection and speedy prosecution sex offenders.
Mr. Akin George, DPP’s Deputy-Director, said: “Lagos State believe that child abuse and rape must be curbed. That is why the state has provided enough facilities, like special courts for trying child abuse and sexual violence cases, and forensic centres to aid investigations and prosecution. We call on all stakeholders to explore these facilities. Lagos State government would continue to work with the police and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure that justice was done to the rape survivors,” he said.