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Senate To Investigate Increase In Rape, Sexual Assault Cases

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The alarming rate of rape and sexual assault in Nigeria have finally caught the attention of lawmakers as the Senate on Tuesday passed a motion to investigate the increase in rape and sexual assault across the country. 

This was disclosed in a Senate press release issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Mr. Sanni Onogu.

The motion titled: “Urgent need to investigate the alarming rate of Rape and Sexual Assault against Women, Children and Vulnerable people across the country” was introduced by Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South).

Na’Allah in his lead debate called for urgent attention to the “frightening increase in cases of sexual violence, notably rape where more than half of the victims are minors below the age of consent.”  

He noted that in most cases, the perpetrators are individuals familiar to the victims and include neighbors, employers and family members adding that the motion in meant to express Senate’s concern that the activities of certain sexual predators represent a serious security threat to vulnerable segments of society.

He stated that rape and sexual assault figures reveal that these crimes ignore gender as both males and females are victims. 

“What is worse, many perpetrators are never brought to justice due to poor rates of prosecution and convictions,” he added.  

Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has lauded the Deputy Majority Leader, for introducing the motion and rallying his distinguished colleagues behind the effort to raise the alarm on the rise of rape and sexual assault in the country.

“The distinguished Majority Leader has once again shown that he is a leader of compassion who believes in the rule of law. 

“The crimes of rape and sexual assault that afflict today’s Nigeria cannot be tolerated and demand increased attention from law enforcement and civil society,” the Senate President said.

The Senate in its resolutions urged the Inspector General of Police to investigate and prosecute violent sexual abuse to the fullest extent of the law and mandated the relevant Senate Committees to exercise their legislative and oversight function to seek solutions that would drastically reduce the incidents of rape and sexual assault.  

The Red Chamber further urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other security agencies to establish functional help desks to provide increased support for victims.  

They further urged judges and magistrates to revisit court sentencing policies on violent sexual offences to reflect the very serious nature of the crimes.

“Our nation has no choice but to address the increase of rape and sexual assault as a security priority,” Dr. Saraki said.  He further added that “not only must we crack down severely on perpetrators, but we must arrest the very idea that Nigeria is unsafe for children, women and vulnerable persons.”

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