A non-governmentalorganisation, (NGO) Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP), has revealed that during the COVID-19 lockdown, between March and April last year, WRAHP recorded over 2,000 cases of sexual violence and defilements in different parts of the state. Speaking at a community hall meeting at Ayobo area of Lagos State, WRAHP’s Communications Officer, Miss Elizabeth Charles, said the organisation was disturbed by the increase in sexual abuse cases across the federation.
She added: “The cases are in the area of rape, child defilement, sexual assaults, battery and other gender based violence.” Charles said that during the COVID-19 lockdown, WRAHP office received cases of rape, assault on women, child defilement and other vices, which she said, was the reason her organisation decided to sensitise women, youths and community leaders on how to report such cases and what to do when such cases of sexual violence happen in their communities. She said: “We are in the community to sensitise women, youths and community leaders on how to tackle the issues of sexual and gender-based violence scourge, and increase the reportage of sexual violence cases in Alimosho community. “During the lockdown we recorded alarming rate of rape cases and other vices about women and children.
One of the strategic ways to increase the awareness about the scourge is through town hall meetings, which is what we held here at Ayobo area. “And we are going round all the local council development area in Alimosho to educate the youths, community leaders, women and young girls to report cases of sexual violence on time to the appropriate authority for prompt action.” The meeting was organised by WRAHP, with supportfromtheEuropeanUnion(EU) fundedRule of LawandAnti-Corruption(RoLAC) Programme managed by the British Council in Nigeria. She further stated that another area the NGO was looking at was the justice system. This was even as she added that at WRAHP, they follow cases to their logical conclusion with the sole aim being to get justice for the victims. “We are not the police; we are not the lawyer but we do the needful,” she said.
The Case Management Officer of the NGO, Mrs. EmiolaIbukunoluwa, said: “We’reinthecommunity to educate them on how they can access justice. Some of our training officers are in other local councildevelopment areas. We want people to speak up on sexual assaults and rape cases. “Many people don’t report cases of rape and assaults. Wearedoingthistoletthemseereasonswhy they should come out of their shells and report to theappropriateauthorityforsanction. Evenwhen some women are being abused by their husbands, they’ll still claim they are fine, but inside them they are suffering. We want them to speak up so as to get justice for them.
“Some of them also don’t see it as anything until we educate them to see the danger associated with it. We want justice for all.” She added: “We have seen a case where a girl who was raped was tagged a prostitute in the community where the incident occurred. We want prompt action from the security agencies to save the victims from embarrassment.” A community leader, Mr. Adebayo Tokunbo, commended the NGO for sensitising the residents on gender-based violence. He noted that before now, there was an increase in cases of violence against women in the community, but since various organisations had been speaking up about them, it has helped to reduce the incidents. He also appealed to government to come to their aid in the community in the area of infrastructural development and wellbeing of the