The Network for Democracy and Development (NDD) has expressed concern over the growing cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence around the country and called on the authorities to take decisive steps towards ensuring the security and well-being of women and female children.
The NDD, a Muslim civil society group, said it joined all men and women of conscience across Nigeria and the world in condemning the recent cases of rape of women across the country.
It urged the government to do everything to make sure that perpetrators of these dastardly acts feel the full weight of the law.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Tajudeen Alabede, and Director of Public Affairs, Dr Abdul-Wasi Moshood, the NDD said: “We are particularly worried by the recent upsurge in the crime of rape in Nigeria.
“We are horrified by the direction of the national conversation which in part blames victims of rape for the inhuman, invidious and criminal act. There can be no justification for rape under any circumstance. Rape is an act of violence that robs the victim of her dignity and sometimes her future and her life.
“Many living victims of rape live with the attendant mental, physical, emotional and social trauma throughout their lives. This is a violation of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person which Islam, the constitution and the universal declaration of human rights protect.
“The prevalence of violent behaviours in different parts of Nigeria in recent years points to the deteriorating value system in the country. This is worrisome. We, therefore, call on the government, religious bodies, the traditional institution and women groups to provide leadership in addressing this ugly descent into the abyss as a matter of urgent national importance.
“It is our submission that all organs of government and other critical segments of the society in Nigeria need to do more in their efforts to prevent the incessant cases of rape and other crimes in the society. This ominous reality makes campaign for value re-orientation an urgent national imperative.
“Law enforcement agents should be trained to attend to victims with compassion and obtain their evidence timeously. Cases of rape should be handled with dispatch while convicted rapists, in addition to the appropriate punishment under the law, should be made to pay damages to their victims by way of restitution.
“In the same vein, the legislature should review the extant laws on rape with a view to determining the viability of the punishment for rape to serve as deterrent to any would-be rapist. A rapist is a potential murderer and should be treated as such.
“NDD commiserates with the families of Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, Miss Barakat Bello and other victims of rape in Nigeria. May Allah comfort the families and set the nation on the path of rectitude.”
THE Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has said that the rate at which criminal activities are perpetrated in the country calls for urgent and decisive action.
According to the organisation, within a span of two weeks, Nigerians have been inundated with heart-rending reports of rape, killings and other acts of violence.
It recalled the killing of Uwa (a microbiology student of the University of Benin) in a church in Benin City and the murder of Barakat and Azeezat in their separate homes in Ibadan and a host of other such criminal acts.
The MSSN, in a statement signed by its president, Dr Taofeeq Yekinni, and national public relations officer, AbdulAzeez Oladejo, said: “While different states of the southern part of the country are battling with the scourge of rape, kidnapping and unwarranted killings, the northern part is being ravaged by devastating bandit attacks.
“There seems to be no end in sight to the state of lawlessness. Nigerians are yet to be completely free from the hands of insurgents in the north-eastern part of the country.
“Banditry is affecting the population (about 21 million people) in some states in the north-west and north-central, making life largely unbearable and displacing people from the comfort of their homes, with no corresponding humanitarian response.
“Apart from displacement, the violence has hampered agricultural activities and heightened the risk of acute food shortage. Also worrisome is the fact that there is little or absolutely no policy in place to help rape victims; rather they are crudely subjected to social stigmatisation and humiliation.
“The Nigerian security network saddled with the constitutional responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of citizens seems to be helpless as different communities are left at the mercy of killers and bandits repeatedly.
“Furthermore, the country’s criminal justice system seems to be failing as its output does not deter crime. They rarely prosecute relevant cases successfully at the intensity required to deter rapists and potential rapists and other criminals. If this is the best that can be offered by the legal system, there is the need for a drastic reform to bring about effectiveness.
“The expected intervention from the legislative arm of the government has not been seen. There is the need for all the arms of government to act decisively in order to restore order in the land. This is the primary expectation from the government institutions.
“MSSN condemns all acts of violence in their entirety. We insist on justice for all the victims of these crimes. We demand for the apprehension, prosecution and punishment of all the perpetrators of these dastardly acts.
“We also commiserate with the families of the victims, praying to Allah to grant them the fortitude to bear the losses.”