Sokoto State Hisbah Commission commandant, Dr Adamu Kasarawa, said the commission has recorded 155 rape cases from January to June this year across the state.
Kasarawa disclosed this on Wednesday in a two-day ” Capacity Building for Male Advocates and Champions Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence” organised by Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development in Sokoto.
The Foundation, an NGO, has engaged Islamic scholars and traditional institutions on ways to reduce cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in line with the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative (SI) project in Sokoto State.
EU-UN SI project is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and United Nations to eliminate all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), backed by an initial dedicated financial envelope of 500 million pounds from 2018 to 2023
Kasarawa decried the rampant cases of sexual assaults in the state noting that the commission recorded 606 cases in 2019 regretting that the cases comprised illegal camping of young girls, sexual exploitation and sodomy.
“This issue of rape mostly involved young girls and teenagers between the age of five and 16.
” We recorded 20 cases of child deliveries, 35 cases linked to traditional institutions attempts for settlement and 31 cases of withdrawals by victims families,” he said.
The commandant explained that the offenders cut across all calibre of people in the society, including politicians, traditional rulers, clerics, businessmen and women.
He attributed the menace to the negative attitude of some parents, adding that the issue of poverty and greed had made sexual exploitation more rampant in the state.
Kasarawa also identified interference with legal processes as one of the major challenges in prosecuting rape cases, stressing the need to tackle favouritism and compromise.
“I think anything that has to do with rape, politicians and traditional leaders should step aside as issues of interests should not be there because is a capital offence,” he said.
Kasawara called for more support from all community members to empower the commission as legal and legislative process have begun.
He urged the state government to empower the commission to tackle the menace and other social vices in the state by providing necessary facilities, operation vehicles, modern security gadgets, training of staff and funding.
“Presently, we are just like volunteers, the Commission is owned by the government but lacked proper backing, we are still trying our best to see that we maintain the services,” he noted.
“ When Hisbah is empowered and on a daily basis to prosecute cases of rape in the state, I am very sure people would stop committing that offence.
”When offenders are being punished accordingly, it will serve as a deterrent to people, and make them go back to their senses,” he stressed.
The Wazirin Sokoto, Prof. Sambo Wali-Junaidu advised Hisbah and other stakeholders to meet Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar to discuss issues as there is a need for increased involvement of religious traditional institutions at all levels.
Wali-Junaidu also emphasized the need for involving lawmakers, prosecuting agencies, ministry of women and children affairs in such gathering in order to have maximum impacts on the struggle.
In his contribution, the District Head of Gagi, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, stressed the need for increased attitudinal change awareness among all category of people in the society, noting that inculcation of moral discipline would help in the struggle.
Umar-Jabbi also advocated for the inclusion of Islamic scholars, women and youths associations at the grassroots along with the establishment of links to channel complaints and reports.
Hajia Kulu Sifawa, the Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs in Sokoto state called for more support toward domestication of child protection laws for safe society and efficient application of the system.
The Sultan Foundation Project Officer, Alhaji Musa Galadanchi, said discussions and presentations testify stakeholders’ and public interests in promulgating laws for the protection of women and children.
Galadanchi assured that Sultan Foundation would continue to partners with the ministry for women affairs and other stakeholders on GBV and other associated initiatives.