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Say No Rape: Bill To Protect Girl Child Passes Second Reading At Senate

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The need to end the traditional habit of stigmatization of every girl child that had been raped in Nigeria has attracted the interest of lawmakers in the country as the call for justice for many raped girl during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond continues.

Naija News recalled that the number of reported rape cases during the COVID-19  pandemic rose dramatically with many rape apologist defending reasons for the evil act is justifiable in the society.

However, in a bid to end this evil act the Nigerian lawmakers is enacting critical legislation to protect victims of rape against any form of stigmatization in the country.

The bill, titled ‘Rape and Insurgency Victims Stigmatization (Prohibition) Bill 2019’, scaled second reading during Wednesday’s plenary session. The bill provides for the prosecution and punishment of any person or group of persons who stigmatizes such victims.

Leading the debate on the bill, the Sponsor of the legislation, Senator Mohammed Musa, said if passed into law, the bill will encourage victims of rape to testify in court and also ensure the re-integration of victims of insurgency into the community of their choice.

Senator Musa said the conditions most victims of rape are exposed to are traumatic and blames this on what he describes as the ineptitude of the Nigerian justice system.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has referred the bill to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative work.

The Committee, which is chaired by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central), is expected to submit its report back to the Senate in four weeks.

“Presently, rape is now a common phenomenon and occurs worldwide. In fact, available data suggests that in some countries one in five women report sexual violence or being raped by an intimate partner and up to a third of girls report forced sexual initiation. This also cuts across a diverse age range of victims ranging from young toddlers and children to even older victims aged 70 years old, with over seventy percent of the victims under 19.

“The bill is to provide for the legal and institutional framework for the protocol for re-integration of victims of rape and insurgency in Nigeria. If this bill is passed into law, it would certainly provide a new lease of life for victims of rape and insurgency in the country”, Musa said.

The lawmaker who bemoaned the trauma which most victims of rape suffer and are exposed to in the country blamed the development on what he described as the “ineptitude” of the Nigerian justice system.

“The justice system in Nigeria is incredibly inept and for rape cases, this is even more traumatic,” Musa said. “A rape victim goes to the police to report and the policeman or woman tells the victim to go and sort it out at home as it is a domestic case. And the consequences of such an act is that the victim is left at the mercy of the society without any protection.

 

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