The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has appealed to the Gombe State Government to domesticate the Child Rights Act to curb the increasing cases of child sexual abuse in the state.
The Gombe State Co-ordinator, NHRC, Mohammed Ayuba, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Thursday.
He said that culprits were not being convicted as a result of the absence of the Child Rights Act in the state.
According to Mr Ayuba, with the increase in cases of child rape, every girl child is at risk of being abused and as such, all hands must be on deck to fight the menace.
He said the dignity of every girl child was at stake if this menace was not properly addressed with the right laws in place, saying “convicting culprits is difficult because of the absence of the Act.
According to him, child rape is becoming alarming and a major concern for NHRC in Gombe State.
“The government should for the sake of the girl child domesticate the child rights act.
“This act will go a long way to address the threats against the girl child that are being almost endangered.
“We have to domesticate the act in line with the socio-political factors of the state and send a strong signal to those who may want to attempt such heinous crime.
“The psychological impact of rape on the girl child is shattering. Dreams can be shattered by this menace. Our girls and children must be protected because they are our future,” he said.
Mr Ayuba identified the lack of strong adherence to legal framework by the society, parents, and women groups as major factor contributing to the increasing menace of child sexual abuse in the state.
According to him, people should jettison the option of settling rape cases out of court.
“We have been hearing of several cases of rape, which are neither reported to the police, nor NHRC but it is happening.”
He decried the refusal of most parents to speak out whenever their daughters were violated, blaming victimisation from members of the public as the major reason for parents’ silence.
“In most of the cases of child rape taken to court, hardly will you find that a culprit was convicted; in 10 rape cases, hardly will you find two convictions.
“The child right act will help to break the technicalities of the rigorous nature of our law because the act specifically seeks to address violations against children.”
He advised that the acts should incorporate other means of getting evidence in addition to the medical evidence that currently prove or disprove rape cases in a court.
“When a child is raped in rural areas without medical facilities that are equipped enough to examine such case and gather the evidence and in matter of days such evidence would have been wiped out.
“How will the evidence be gathered to ensure justice for the person that has been sexually violated or abused? The Act must put into consideration extreme cases in rural communities,” he said.
NAN reports that nine states alongside Gombe, are yet to domesticate the Act and the states include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.