Fed, state lawmakers urged to prioritise establishment of sexual offences courts to curb rape

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By Aaron Ossai

Worried by rising cases of rape and other sexual abuses, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Press Corps, Comrade Grace Ike, has charged lawmakers at the national and state levels to prioritize the establishment of sexual offenses courts across the country in a bid to tackle the menace of sexual abuse in the country.

Ike, who suggested that they be modeled after successful initiatives in Lagos and other regions, said this at the unveiling of a book “Tears from the Grave” written by Lemmy Ugbegbe, organized by Men Against Rape Foundation.

The journalist, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel of the Federal Capital Territory Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, said the book demonstrates the collective resolve to confront and eradicate this pervasive issue

The book is a collection of poems on sexual and gender based violence in memory of Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher and several other victims aimed at creating awareness to comprehensively tackle the vice in the society and dedicated to the memory of victims of SGBV.

Ike, who was emotional as she made her address, commended the Men Against Rape Foundation and the organizers of the event for their commitment to shedding light on the harrowing experiences of SGBV victims.

She expressed worry over the alarming statistics on sexual abuse and urged that all hands be on deck to ensure that the problem is addressed.

“The statistics are alarming—a recent survey in Nigeria revealed that 31.4% of sexually active adolescent females and 5.7% of males experienced forced sex (rape) at sexual initiation.

“Shockingly, female adolescents living with HIV are disproportionately affected by this violence. It is truly heartbreaking when individuals, regardless of age or gender, fall victim to such abhorrent acts.

“The normalization of sexual violence is spreading like wildfire, leaving victims in unimaginable physical and psychological anguish.

“Every day, we are confronted with distressing accounts of girls and women enduring unspeakable trauma due to sexual violence. What’s even more disturbing is the growing trend of perpetrators committing murder, killing their victims after these heinous acts—an act that must be condemned in the strongest terms”, she said.

Chairman of the event, Dr Kelechi Ofoegbu, said sexual abuse is a very serious issue that must be urgently addressed in the society.

Ofoegbu , who is the Executive Commissioner, Corporate Service and Administration of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said he was grateful for the book, which he said throws light on a very topical issue on vice that borders on injustice.

On his part, the author of the book, Mr Lemmy Ugbegbe said the essence of the book was to provoke thoughts and get everyone to discuss the uncomfortable issues and seek solutions.

“We promised to seek justice for Keren and also to seek justice for 13 year Elizabeth Ochnanya who was raped and drugged repeatedly. We promise the two people would not be mere statistics.

“We would continually remind the nation of their cases. The book documented the stories of grief of the families of victims. This has been one of the most challenging things in my life”, he stated.