From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
Sequel to the recent rise in cases of rape across the country, the Centre for Human Rights and Prevention of Trafficking in Persons has called on the
Attorney Generals of the 36 states to domesticate gender-based laws, in particular, the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 (VAPPA).
The Centre equally called on states who are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act, to do so, so as to guarantee protection for the girl child in cases of rape and other violations of their rights.
The Executive Director of the organisation, John Tsok, disclosed this to journalists in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.
Tsok said: “The Centre for Human Rights and Prevention of Trafficking in Persons has urged Attorneys General in states of the federation to facilitate the domestication of federal gender-based laws in their various states in order to eliminate the alarming prevalence of rape.
“In particular, the Centre wants the states to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) act 2015 (VAPPA) whose provisions with regard to the offence of rape are broader in scope and have greater capacity to penalize the offence than many state penal laws.
According to the Centre, VAPPA’s definition of rape is not as restrictive as that provided by the Penal Laws.
“While it prescribes a minimum jail sentence of 12 years for the crime, the Penal code leaves that at the discretion of the courts”, the Centre lamented.
It states further that, under VAPPA, the rape victim is awarded compensation even as the Act mandates the establishment of a ‘Sex Offender Register’ to shame and keep track of such offenders.
The Centre also calls on state governments that are yet to domesticate the ‘Child Rights Act’ to do so urgently “in order to guarantee protection for the girl child from rape and other violations of their rights”.
The Centre describes as “worrisome” cases of incest, defilement of little and innocent children and the report that only 717 cases of rape were reported to the police which do not include unreported ones.