What you need to know:
- A report has revealed that 11,200 rape cases were reported in Nigeria last year, including children, some of whom were defiled to death.
- The report is based on research carried out between March 2020 and August 2021. It includes interviews with 14 women and girl survivors aged between 12 and 42.
Amnesty International has called on the Nigerian government to move with speed and protect women and girls against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
This comes after its report lifted the lid off the rape crisis in the West African country.
The report, Nigeria: A Harrowing Journey; Access to Justice for Women and Girls Survivors of Rape, reveals that11,200 cases were reported last year, including children, some of whom were defiled to death.
It also shows how harmful cultural stereotypes, failure to investigate cases and insufficient support for survivors have created a culture of silence and impunity, failing thousands of women and girls yearly.
Of the victims, a Second Year university student, aged 22, was raped and brutally assaulted in a church near her homein Beni-Edo State in 2020. She succumbed to her injuries days later.
The report is based on research carried out between March 2020 and August 2021. It includes interviews with 14 women and girl survivors aged between 12 and 42. The interviews were conducted in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Sokoto and Barchi states.
The Nigerian police in June 2020, said they had recorded 717 incidents of rape between January and May.
The report indicates that despite the country’s declaration of a state of emergency on SGBV, rape persists at crisis levels, with most survivors denied justice, rapists evading prosecution and hundreds of cases going unreported because of pervasive corruption, stigma and victim-blaming.
“All reported cases of rape must be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated and perpetrators prosecuted and, where possible, convicted with appropriate penalties,” says Amnesty International.
The organisation has also challenged the police to offer survivors the necessary support including a safe space for seeking justice.
The courts too, have been urged to ensure sexual violence cases are fairly and promptly prosecuted.
The number of cases of sexual violence and femicide in Africa has risen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ministries responsible for gender in East Africa Community states, for instance, have reported about 48 per cent surge in cases reported to the police or through GBV toll-free lines.
Around the world, police and prosecutors, victim support teams, women’s movements, and the United Nations, have reported rising domestic and sexual violence during Covid-related lockdowns.