Hundreds of Nigerians, especially women, have sued for stiffer penalties against rapists to serve as deterrent to perpetrators.
The people, who embarked on a peaceful rally across the streets of Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, were clad in black attire and carried placards with different inscriptions appealing for an end to rape.
A representative of Gender and Action Development, Francisca Effiom, said the rally was to draw attention to the growing concern on rape and urge the government to existing laws.
Francisca Effiom, the Project Coordinator for Women Voices Leadership Project under ActionAid Global Affairs, Canada, said “we organised this rally to say ‘Stop Rape’. Rape has become an issue too many to address and it has taken a very serious and dangerous dimension in society”.
“We are urging the government to look at the laws and policies existing and review such regulations to put an end to this menace. The policies need to be strengthened, laws reviewed so that rape will stop in our society,” Effiom stressed.
She called on more men to speak out against rape and join in the upbringing of their children especially the boy child.
She said, “we need the support of the men; they should talk to their children at home and parents must live up to their responsibility to stop rape”.
A female lawyer, who participated in the rally,Roseline Inametti, decried the high incidences of rape across the country since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a serious cause for concern to many Nigeria.
“In the past three months OF covid-19, the cases we have been having are the cases of rape. A 6 months old baby has been raped, a 4 year old has been raped and like Amina, who was raped by 11 men and kept there. Rape has been on the rise and only God knows when it will end.
“What we want the government to do is to change the laws. We do not just want to prosecute the rapists because most of the time they want the matter settled and that is all about it. No, that is not working. We need stiffer penalties, one that the rapist would not wriggle out of”.
“The laws should protect the children, the female and male child, protect the women. We do not need violence and we must all say no to rape. Our wearing of mini skirts does not mean ‘yes’. No means no. if possible, we are seeking the death penalty to stop rape,” she said.
The rally attracted more than 500 participants including some top female politicians like Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Ethiopia, Civil Society Organisations and men groups.
Others included Non-Governmental agencies such as Girls Power Initiatives, GPI, Federation of International Women Lawyers, FIDA, the female members of ASUU, the Cross River Women Emancipation Initiative, CROWEI, youth groups amongst others.
Source: Voice of Nigeria