The family of an 18-year-old woman reportedly raped in Kaduna have appealed for justice even as they lament a lull in investigations.
A viral video hit the internet on May 10 showing how the victim was being comforted by a family member after reportedly being sexually assaulted by five men.
The incident occurred on April 27, this year.
The video stirred outrage from individuals and NGOs with many calling for justice on Twitter. The video was made public by a user, Uncle Shemzz, who shared his thoughts on the incident.
“This is the 18-year-old girl that was gang raped weeks back in Narayi. The rapists haven’t been charged to court and look like her folks plan to accept payments. No amount can pay for this damage. It’s OUR duty to ensure there’s #JusticeForJennifer,” he said.
The young woman was said to have been invited through Facebook by a male friend to his house in Narayi, Kaduna.
There, she was then reportedly raped by five men — including her host. Sources said two of the suspects later reportedly confessed to have drugged her using a local drink called Tombo.
The victim was later hospitalised.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES via phone, her uncle, Joshua Benjamin, said the family awaits justice on the matter.
“I feel bad and I don’t wish this on anyone neither do I want a parent to experience this for their child and justice is all I am yearning for,” he said.
“The rape occurred on the 27th of April 2020,” he added. “However, the case only got attention from individuals, NGOs and government officials after the video was made public on the 10th of May.”
The Kaduna State police public relations officer, Jalinge Muhammed, told PREMIUM TIMES that investigation was on.
“With the help of other security agencies and the community members, the Kaduna police have been able to identify two of the five boys and they have been charged to court while the other three are still at large,” he said.
He did not elaborate further or address the allegations of unnamed persons trying to compromise the investigation.
Many incidents of sexual abuse go unreported in Nigeria. The few cases that are reported to the authorities are mostly not duly investigated by the authorities.
“It is a very traumatic event for anyone, not to talk of someone as young as 18 years old,” said Dayyaba Shaibu, a clinical psychologist, of the latest attack.
As a strategy to curb sexual violence against women, in December 2019, Nigeria launched its first Sexual Offenders Register which contains names of all those prosecuted for sexual violence since 2015.
Also, there are currently 15 sexual assault referral centres (SARC) in Nigeria, and Kaduna, ironically, is the state with the highest number of such centres due to recurring sexual violence reports. The state has four centres.
SARCs provide an avenue where victims of sexual or gender-based violence can access care and justice. This is one of the actions within the country targeted at giving voice and much-needed help to victims whose voices have long been silenced.
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