Gbajabiamila to engage State Assemblies on domestication of anti-rape laws

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, says he will engage Speakers of State Houses of Assemblies on domestications of laws against rape.

Gbajabiamila said this while receiving a delegation of 12 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in his office on Friday in Abuja.

Gbajabiamila said that he would engage state assembly speakers on the urgent need to domesticate the Child Right Act and the Violence Against Persons Act.

“I am aware that over 20 states are yet to domesticate the Child Right Act and the Violence Against Persons Act.

“Next week, I will have a zoom meeting with all the speakers and I hope that at the end, these Acts will be domesticated across the 36 states,” he said.

According to the speaker, all the 360 members of the house are solidly behind the fight against rape.

The lawmaker said that the house was very emphatic about rape and that it was in line with the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives.

Gbajabiamila said that the ban on sexual harassment was very low in a penalty in the country compared to developed countries.

”In some countries, just complimenting a woman can be sexual harassment depending on how she feels but here you can even stroke her hair,” he said.

He stressed the need to tighten the laws on rape, particularly as regards consent in a manner that it would be clear.

Gbajabimila said that for some women who are not so strong, rape was like a death sentence as they live with the scar for the rest of their life.

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He said that the house had directed the clerk to write to the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to commence aggressive awareness against rape.

The speaker said that the house would ensure those police officers handling rape-related issues were well trained in the technicalities required so as to secure convictions in court.

Earlier, leader of the delegation Chioma Aguegbo said that since 2015, when the Child Right Act and the Violence Against Persons Act were passed, only about six states had domesticated the anti-rape laws.

She said that the CSOs had compiled a list of 100 reported rape cases across the country from January to date

Aguegbo said that the group had come to solicit the support of the house to bring rape to its knees.

She said that the group had met with the Police and would also meet with the Federal Executive Council and the Nigeria Governors Forum on the matter.

Another member of the delegation, Miss Dorothy Njemanze, said that she was a victim of sexual and domestic violence.

Njemanze said that she was now living her life to fight the crime but not much success was being recorded.

According to her, we want the government to make it a criminal case where families drop rape cases because of fear of stigma.

Njemanze also said that there was a need to make medical test to detect rape free so that all victims would be able to prove their case irrespective of social stratification.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CSOs include ActionAid, Dorathy Njemanze Foundation, Sexual Assault Referral Centre, TechHer NG among others.

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