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Kogi women kick against amnesty for rape offenders

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KOGI State women, on Tuesday, argued against any form of amnesty for rape offenders by the state government, saying that such infringement should attract death penalty or life imprisonment to serve as punishment for anyone found guilty of the offence in the state.
A women group from Kogi Central Senatorial District made the call in Okene at a sensitisation workshop organised by the Challenged Parenthood Initiative, CPI, in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria on the heels of the proposed bill on Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, which has passed through the second reading in the Kogi State House of Assembly.
The group also called on the government to intensify efforts to rid the state of other social vices ravaging the 21 local government areas, LGAs.
The women, who were overwhelmed by the contents of the bill, and what it intends to achieve in their lives unanimously knelt down and prayed against any person who intends to work or stand against the passage of the bill in the state.
In her address, the CPI Executive Director, Eunice Abimbola Agbogun, who noted that the bill was currently awaiting public hearing at the State Assembly, expressed optimism that the bill, if passed, will help address most of the societal and domestic violence against women in the state.
She admonished participants to take the sensitisation down to the grassroots in a bid to allow quick passage of the bill, stressing that the campaign on violence against women is a collective responsibility.
“We have read of some horrific accounts of this heinous crime through various media channels in recent times. A lot of times victims of this heinous crime don’t even report the incident to the appropriate authorities, so their stories do not even make it to the newsroom.
“Many victims of rape, for fear of stigmatisation and being blamed for their ordeal bear the pain of the crime committed against them, thereby leaving their assailants roaming free to perpetrate more crimes. It is indeed quite unfortunate that victims are sometimes blamed for being raped,” she expressed.
She added that it has been observed that prosecuting rape cases can be quite tough due to a myriad of factors, ranging from stigma to the provisions of the law itself on the issue.
“Information obtained from the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, website indicates that there have been 65 rape convictions between 1973 and 2019 in Nigeria. This number, no doubt is insignificant considering the number of reported cases of rape in the country. There is a need for quick passage of this law in Kogi State to address the menace of rape and other issues on violence against woman,” she said.

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