Rape and domestic violence are on the increase in Nigeria because government policy ensures few offenders are brought to justice, a civil society group has stated.
The Human Rights Monitoring Agenda, HURMA, which made the observation on Wednesday, called on government to improve its policy on the crimes as a step to addressing the menace.
The National Coordinator of HURMA, Buna Isiak, said this at an event, the United Action Walk Against Rape and Domestic Violence, organized by the group at Shomolu, Lagos State.
Mr. Isiak said it was alarming that young girls were being raped and women abused “almost on daily basis”.
“Our office receives reports almost on daily basis from victims of this evil acts, but only few ones have the courage to report physically, due to several reasons, including threat from offenders”.
He said the objective of the walk was to “unite all stakeholders in our society in the battle to tackle this acts, and to ensure that no section in our community will provide save heaven for offenders.”
He said the event was aimed at encouraging victims to report cases of abuse at any organized sector of the society, including through “market leaders, Road Transport office, palaces, hospitals, constituency offices, local government secretariats, police stations and NGO offices”.
While commending the Lagos State Government on some of its measures in tackling the menace of rape in the state, which include its position that all victims be directed to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospitals, Mr. Isiak called on the government to improve its policy on rape and domestic violence.
“We see this policy as not good enough and could defeat the very purpose of its establishment. This is because the families and relatives of victims of abuse easily get tired and withdraw to fate, if the road to justice is considered stressful.
“Most victims are poor and cannot always combine the burden of transporting themselves to a distant place, jam-packed with several activities, with the psychological burden of the rape experience.
“It is therefore our suggestion that government should always contact grassroots actors before initiating any policy that affects the masses”, he said.
Mr. Isiak called on the government to equip local government general hospitals with human and material equipment to tackle the issue.
“The least that government can do is to equip the local government to take over the burden of transporting victims to the present position of treatment in LASUTH and not to leave them to face the burden by themselves”, he said.