FG to partner states on rape, gender-based violence

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Federal Government with the states governments across the country are working to deal decisively with the problem of rape and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

According to the Vice President, every form of sexual assault “is blemish on the collective humanity and dignity of Nigerians as a people and a Nation.”

Osinbajo made this known on Sunday, at a virtual meeting organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the Scourge of Rape, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

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He said, “We will work with all actors to detect and punish the perpetrators of these sickening acts and work even harder to prevent their occurrence”.

He also revealed that the fight against rape and gender violence would be driven down to the states through the National Economic Council (NEC), which he chairs.

“We will continue to use the platform of the National Economic Council to encourage States yet to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015 and the Child Rights Act of 2003 to do so.

“Gender-based violence, rape and sexual assaults are a blemish on our collective humanity and dignity as a people and a Nation,” he added.

“While violence against women has always been a challenge in Nigeria, the COVID-19 lockdown has occasioned a steep increase in sexual and gender-based violence across the country.

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“I am told that between March 23, 2020 – May 29, 2020, the FCT Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Team received an overwhelming 105 incidents; an average of 13 incidents per week, up from the usual 5 to 6 incidents per week, pre-COVID-19.

“Also, a few days ago the Inspector-General of Police disclosed that the police had recorded about 717 rape incidents across the country between January and May 2020.

“And that 799 suspects had so far been arrested, 631 cases conclusively investigated and charged to court while 52 cases are still under investigation.

“What these figures show is an escalation of an already disgraceful trend of violence against women and girls in the country,” Osinbajo observed.

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