*Suggests death, life imprisonment
By Noah Ocheni, Lokoja
The Executive Director, Challenge Parenthood Initiative (CPI), Eunice Abimbola Agbogun0 on Tuesday in Okene, appealed to the Kogi State Government to halt the amnesty extended to rapists, boating that the minimum should be death or life imprisonment for the guilty.
Agbogun spoke while addressing Women from Kogi Central Senatorial zone on Tuesday in Okene at a sensitization workshop organized by the Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI), in collaboration with Actionaid Nigeria.
The appeal which came at the heels of the proposed bill on Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP), which has passed through the second reading at the Kogi State House of Assembly, was aimed at curbing incessant rape cases in the state.
The Executive Director noted that the bill is currently awaiting public hearing in the hallow chamber stressing that if passed, it will help address most of the societal and domestic violence in Kogi State.
Agbogun who admonished participants to take the sensitization down to the grassroots in a bid to allow quick passage of the bill said the campaign on violence against women is a collective responsibility.
“We have read of some horrific accounts of this heinous crime through various media channels in recent times. A lot of times victims of such crime don’t even report the incident to the appropriate authorities.” She stressed.
“Many victims of rape for fear of stigmatisation and being blamed for their ordeal bear the pain of the crime committed against them, thereby leaving their assailants roaming free to perpetrate more crimes. It is indeed quite unfortunate that victims are sometimes blamed for being raped.”
Information obtained from the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) website According to her, indicates that there have been 65 rape convictions between 1973 and 2019 in Nigeria. This number, no doubt is insignificant considering the number of reported cases of rape in the country.
“The women who were overwhelmed on the content of the bill and what it intends to achieve in their lives unanimously prayed against any person who intend to work or stand against the passage of the bill in the state.”
Also speaking, the Executive Director Initiative for Grassroots Advancement, INGRA, Mr Hamza Aliyu highlighted other areas which the proposed bill seeks to address which includes, sexual harassment, rape, intimidation, molestation, physical or psychological threat, political violence, thuggery among others
The bill according to Mr Aliyu also recommend severe punishment ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment for any offenders while any person who incite, aids or abet crime of the above will be convicted for the same offence.