No fewer than 500 women and men yesterday joined some non governmental organizations in Lagos State to protest the recent rape and killings of young girls in Nigeria. Part of their grievances was the incessant killings by policemen.
Carrying placards with inscriptions like “So long as girls and women are not free, no one is free, you have a duty to protect girls and women. Do your work! Adopt the VAPP act immediately.
Save our girls and women. Justice for all Nigerian girls and women. Don’t rape us. Don’t kill us Leave us alone,” they converged at the police command, in Lagos.
Addressing them, Oqua Effiong Etim of the police command said he will take their message back to the Commissioner of Police and assured them that they are not sleeping.
He pleaded with them to report cases of rape to the police as he said the perpetrators are well known by their relatives and friends.
“You know these people, If your brother is involved tell us. What we are campaigning against is like rain that doesn’t fall on one roof so it affects us all,” he said.
He assured them that the officers concerned are already being disciplined “and by the time we finish, they will be charged to face the law of the land,” he added.
On her part, a lawyer and human rights advocate, Oluwaaeun Oshowobi who was present at the protest said that she was tired of handling rape cases.
She said Nigerians should hold the police accountable. “Call the legislatures and members of house of representatives around you. Ask them when the police will have a reform,” she said.
Stressing it is one thing to have a law and another thing to apply it, Oshowobi advised women to keep away from judging victims of rape and called on men to expose perpetrators that they are aware of.
Organized by Women’s Rights and Health Project, WRAHP, ActionAid and Neca’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women, NNEW, Vivian Bassey of Action Aid said they want life imprisonment without parole for perpetrators of rape.
She said it is alarming the rate at which cases of rape has increased in Nigeria
“In Enugu alone we have recorded 72 cases and over 250 cases in 5 states within a month. We don’t want perpetrators to be given option of out of court settlement or family discussion,” she added.