Worried by incessant cases of sexual assault and violence against women, two traditional rulers in Lagos State on Thursday led a walk by the people against the crime on the Lekki-Epe Expressway and major streets in the area.
The rulers — Olu of Epe, Sefiu Adewale and the Oloja of Epe, Kamorudeen Animashaun — who displayed placards with the inscriptions, “Say No to Rape, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse,” called on the authorities to put an end to the crimes.
The monarchs said they were incensed by all forms of gender-based violence in the community and the state, insisting that the full weight of the law must be slammed on perpetrators of sexual crimes.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that security personnel including Police, State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), the Nigeria Legion and members of the National Youth Service Corps, also participated in the walk.
Mr. Adewale said: “To curb the menace, government should stop child abuse by parents. They should protect the young ones safe against all forms of attack and hawking especially by the girl-child, who should still be in school.
“A committee will be set up to look into such cases and we shall work in partnership with the Lagos State Government.
“Offenders should not be spared and l believe that the way forward is to continuously engage the various communities to prevent and respond to all forms of gender-based violence.”
On his part, Mr. Animashaun urged the people to be “faithful ambassadors and armies” in the fight against domestic and sexual violence.
The Coordinator of the State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, Vivour Adeniyi, said the walk was organised as part of efforts to sensitise the community to rise up against the crimes.
“We want the people of Epe to know that the law on rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence now carry stiff penalties or punishments and that offenders will not go unpunished.
“Our message to the people is to `Say No to Rape, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse’ and my advice to parents is that they should be more vigilant and fellowship with their children and also show love to them.
“They should be encouraged to express themselves without fear,” she told NAN, asking the people to report such crimes promptly.
“Domestic violence is a crime and should be reported by calling the hotline 112, and we will come after them.”
The Iyaloja of Epe, Mulikat Onibon, advised spouses to be mutually respectful and submissive and also learn to understand themselves.
“Couples should learn to understand themselves and be patient with one another to avoid violence in the home.
“Domestic violence starts from the home and family unit and this makes the children to be violent afterwards.
” Parents should desist from abusing their children in any form,” she said.
The head of all chiefs in the area, Wasiu Ajumoko, suggested public disgrace for sex offenders such as rape before they are prosecuted and sentenced by the courts.
“Rape and all forms of violence against women are not good and God is against it.
Oyimba Islar, a teacher and representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, at the rally, urged parents to ensure that their daughters dress decently and moderately.
“Child abuse and rape are serious crimes and we will support the government to curb such crimes in our schools and the society.”
A primary five pupil, 11-year-old Okechukwu Chibike, who also participated in the walk, said the courts should impose stiffer punishment on sexual offenders, suggesting life imprisonment across the country.