Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Provincial President, Mothers’ Union, Women’s Guild and Girl’s Guild, Province of the Niger and Diocese of Awka, Anglican Communion, Mrs Martha Chioma Ibezim has lamented the increasing sexual abuse of girls and women in the society, saying women must rise and stand against rape in the society.
Just as she commended the governors of Nigeria’s 36 states for declaring a state of emergency on rape in Nigeria, and called for concerted action against rape by all and sundry.
Mrs Ibezim insisted that it’s time for the church, families and the society to raise stronger voices against forcefully sexual relationships that affects our women especially the young females.
Delivering his Presidential address with the theme ‘Be still and Know that I am God, Psalm 46: 10a, to mark the 34th Awka Diocesan Women’s Conference (ADWOC) 2020 at All Saints’ Church Ukpo, Dunukofia local government area, Anambra state Mrs Ibezim appealed that baseless men who rape at will must be stopped.
Mrs Ibezim who is the wife of the Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger and Bishop , Diocese of Awka, Most Reverend Alexander Chibuzo Ibezim, PhD but fondly known as Nneoma, Mama Awka and Mama Province insisted that its time for every woman to watch out to forestall such evil of rape aside prayers against rape.
She lamented the current trend of using dangerous drugs by men to cause their victims to lose their memory as worrisome. She noted that the number of rapes in Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic has multiplied beyond 300% with higher rate of reporting and opening up by victims. She notes further that ‘in Africa, rape has been declared a “second pandemic” of gender-based violence with multiple cases of rape and murders of victims all designed to silence them’.
Her words: ‘’It is time for the church, families and the society to raise stronger voices against forcefully sexual relationships that affects our women especially the young females. We must stop those baseless men. They overpower girls and women, drug their victims, and sexually abuse them. The current trend of using dangerous drugs to cause victims to lose their memory and prevent immediate and perpetual conception of victims and the gruesome murdering of victims is becoming more alarming. Sisters, let us watch and pray against these evil. We must stand against rape now. We are grateful that the governors of Nigeria’s 36 states declared a state of emergency on rape in Nigeria.
‘’Rape has become a dominant intermittent issue of the season as cases of godless forceful sexual abuse, drugging and murder have remained major headlines in this Corona Virus induced lockdown. Nigeria has a long history of an alarming prevalence of sexual violence and impunity for rapists. Unfortunately, since the COVID-19 lockdown, the number of rapes has multiplied beyond 300% with higher rate of reporting and opening up for by victims. In Africa, rape has been declared a “second pandemic” of gender-based violence with multiple cases of rape and murders of victims all designed to silence them. There is a high rise of rape cases everywhere now. You must have to be cautions and disciplined in the friends you keep, the places you go and most importantly the clothes you wear. The case of the 22-years-old university student Uwavera Omozuwa who raped and killed caused a widespread outrage in Nigeria.
‘’ It is time for the church, families and the society to raise stronger voices against forcefully sexual relationships that affects our women especially the young females. We must stop those baseless men. They overpower girls and women, drug their victims, and sexually abuse them. The current trend of using dangerous drugs to cause victims to lose their memory and prevent immediate and perpetual conception of victims and the gruesome murdering of victims is becoming more alarming. Sisters, let us watch and pray against these evil. We must stand against rape now. We are grateful that the governors of Nigeria’s 36 states declared a state of emergency on rape in Nigeria. The bible stands against the violence attached to it (See Deuteronomy 22:23-29). Rape cases caused wars in the Old Testament (See case of Dinah and unnamed woman in Judges Chapter 19).
‘’The cry of Tamar over her rape by his half-brother Ammon, triggered Absalom to kill Amnon and engineered rebellion against his father King David. Rape and other sexual violence against women must stop. Let the families, church and the government stand up against rape. The Awka Diocesan Women Ministry shall continue to intercede for the nation and state, our governor and his wife for divine direction in their administration, fairness and equity. It is well with Nigeria and Anambra State’’.
On herdsmen attack, Mrs Ibezim said: ‘We congratulate our dear governor, His Excellency, Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, Akpokue Dike, and His wife Chief Dr. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) for their pedigree in the security and workers welfare of the state. Anambra State had remained relevant in the affairs of the nation as a result of its security gains and calmness promoted by the present administration led by His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano. But, the news of Fulani herdsmen attacks on farms in our villages and towns in our state creates room for worries and security concerns. There is a need for the government to do more to address the rising tension of villages that are afraid of the attacks by suspected herdsmen in our villages who are afraid of the attacks by suspected herdsmen in our villages. We encourage our government to do more.
Speaking on the influx of beggars from North to the South East: The Mothers’ Union President Province of the Niger said further: ‘’There is a strong move and determination by Northern Governors in Kano, Kaduna, Kogi and others to eradicate the Almajiri system of child-begging and street begging. They have developed policies against Almajiri system which they are executing with zeal. Ironically, as those beggars are leaving the streets in the North states, we see that they are multiplying in Anambra State. The governor’s lodge in Amawbia, the Hausa quarters in Amawbia, Amansea to Ugwuoba, Enugu-Onitsha Express way and other strategic locations in the state are being occupied these groups of people. The unguided influx of beggars from the Northern Nigeria exposes our State to high security risk. There is need for the government to develop policies to address the influx of Almajiri in the South-East of Nigeria. Repatriation of beggars is ongoing in the North. Anambra and other Governors in South-East and South-South must borrow leave from their counterpart in Kogi, Kaduna and Kano State’’.
Mrs Ibezim spoke on the increase of cult activities in the state thus: ‘’We wish to draw the attention of the State Government to the ugly issues of cult activities characterized by killings and counter-killings. The reported cases of gangsters and destruction of lives and properties in Anambra State is becoming alarming. There has been rapid rise in cult related activities in the especially around the State Capital. The Security Forces are trying but there is need to clamp down on these societal ills before the crash our security system. Thank God that Zone 13 Police Command is with us now. We plead for perfect collaboration among all the security and the governmental agencies to combat this menace. As we appreciate the efforts of the security personnel’s in combating crime. The high rate of youths and children involvement should be strongly guarded and culprits fully prosecuted. Attacks and reprisal attacks should be averted through security reports and intelligence. We need more proactive measures’’.
On corona virus pandemic, Mrs Ibezim said: ‘’It is most unfortunate that the emergency of the deadly Corona Virus Pandemic exposed the ugly weaknesses in our governance system. As the National and States map health budgets annually, it is disheartening to note that in almost all the state, the facilities in our Government hospitals are alarming poor and below average. Nigeria is among the top ranking nations in abroad medical treatments with our patients flying to India, America and United Kingdom and other foreign countries. We could not provide for the basic health needs of our people. We thank God that everybody faced the reality of the gap in our health sector which is leading to more cases of mortality, compound to the impact of the Corona Virus itself. We call upon the government at the federal and state governments to invest more in health facilities and equipments, provision of adequate working environment for health workers who are under threats due to unavailability of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) and others welfare needed for better services. The Corona Virus Pandemic has also exposed that the government is far from the masses. The federal government claims that palliatives were distributed to Nigerians has remained only a media advertisement without any significant traces/impacts to the locals/Nigerians. It is regrettable that government ignored the power/influence of the churches in grassroots mobilization and distribution of dividends of governance. When the governments failed their responsibilities towards their electorate, the church rose to the Challenge. Thank God for the proactive move of the churches in Nigeria especially in the Province of the Niger (Anglican Communion) under the leadership of Most Rev’d. Alexander C. Ibezim PhD. The dioceses, churches and patriotic individuals donated items, foods, cash and other items for the combat of the hunger associated with the lockdown season. While we applaud the governmental agencies like NDDC for daily updates of Covid-19 statistics, there should be room also to give people hope and encouragement. We plead with the church not to relent in prayers and encouragement of the people.
COVID-19 is real and we must stay safe and stay free. We are totally adhering to all precautionary measures for the prevention of the spread of Corona Virus. The safety tips of regular hand washing with running water, the use of hand sanitizer, the use of face masks and the observation of social distancing must be fully adhered to for our collective wellbeing. Please, stay safe and stay free. Above all, pray for God’s intervention for total eradication of Corona Virus in Jesus name. The church of God must continue to march forward and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her’’.