Disability Right Advocacy Centre (DRAC)a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called for more commitment of security agencies towards securing the conviction of sex offenders in the country.
The coalition said that this would curb the high rate of activities of perpetrators of sexual violence against women and girls.
The organisations made this known at a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Awareness rally organised by the Disability Right Advocacy Centre (DRAC) to commemorate the 2018 “16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence” in Abuja .
Its Executive Director, Mrs Irene Patrick-Ogbodu, said that the lives and reproductive health of children and women were constantly being destroyed through acts of violence.
Patrick-Ogbogu said that law enforcement agencies needed to put more effort towards the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators to reverse this ugly trend of sexual and gender-based violence in the society.
She said that statistics have shown that the number of children and women sexually molested on a daily basis was increasing at an alarming rate.
“This rally coincides with the beginning of the trial of the lecturer in Benue state who together with his son, raped and tortured an eight year old girl (Ochanya) until she eventually died at age 13 from complications arising from the abuse.
“There is the case of 6-month old Khadija, sexually molested by her own father and 14-year-old Obiamaka gang-raped to death by miscreants because she turned down their overtures.
“We are demanding that law enforcement agents become more proactive in the way they handle issues of gender-based violence.
“Statistics show that 71 per cent of female children will experience sexual violence before they turn 18. This is an alarming statistics,” she said.
She also called on the National Assembly to enact laws that would prescribe stiffer penalties for perpetrators of child molestation, rape and defilement.
She urged law makers to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill as the demonstration of their commitment to end sexual and gender-based violence in the society.
Patrick-Ogbogu appealed to religious leaders to preach against sexual and gender-based violence in their places of worship and desist from covering up such cases.
Also, the Director, Gender Development, Social Development Secretariat, FCT, Mrs Agnes Hart said the secretariat had set up a response team in the territory to ensure prompt response to cases of sexual violence.
Hart said that the team was always available to receive reports on cases of sexual violence and work to ensure that such issues were addressed appropriately.
She called on the residents to take advantage of this avenue by reporting all possible acts of sexual violence.
Also speaking, Executive Director, Women Africa, Mrs Chinwe Onyeukwu, urged the public not to stigmatise children or other individuals who report acts of sexual violence but to investigate and report such cases to the relevant security agency or organisation.
“16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence” is commemorated every year from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world.The theme for the 2018 celebration is: “Hear Me Too”