•Rapists On The Prowl
By Chioma Umeha
Timalayo, 12, hawks ‘pure water’ in Ajegunle, a suburb of La
The first reaction from her aunt was: “What were you doing and discussing with him that he raped you? Your business is to sell ‘pure water,’ nothing more.
“Stop meddling with them and I don’t want to hear this nonsense report again, Timi as fondly called by her peers told Independent.”
Her aunt seriously warned that she will not pay Timi’s lesson fee if she mention the matter again. This made Timi become exposed to serial abuse at the popular Ajegunle motor park. By the time it was discovered, serious harm has happened. As at the time of this report, Timi was still on the hospital bed receiving treatment.
Her case is one out several rape incidents across the country. Ada, a friend recently shared a post with me on Independent mail.
The post read: “I went for a shopping near a super store close by the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Ebutte Metta Lagos. A huge crowd who gathered outside the security post of the main gate of the hospital were waiting to lynch or have a glimpse of this particular fellow which the security held in their post at the gate.
The post further read: “On inquiry, one of the staffs at the hospital, said: “They caught a man who raped a four-years-old girl, her inner part and intestines is badly damaged and she is bleeding profusely. Her life is in danger right now,’ ‘and to think her father’s brother did it to her, It’s more painful. Many of the onlookers shaken by the news couldn’t help a tear dropping from their eyes, he ought to be killed or castrated,” the post read.
It also read: “We’ve had about nine cases of such rape cases, in the past few days, but the worst is a six-month-old-girl child who was always sexually abused by a neighbour friend who was always carrying her, playing with her, hugging her and taking her to his room when she cries, the baby was very fond of him. The baby’s mother was happy that she had someone who liked her child not knowing that the man feeds the baby with his sperm.
“They just noticed the baby’s tummy was swelling more than expected; she fell sick at some point before luck finally ran out on him and he was caught. She was brought to the hospital and the doctors had to extract the sperm and do a thorough job on her. A six-month-old baby! She exclaimed on her post.
This and many more such cases are happening on daily basis, some without documentation. These issues formed the agenda recently, at a two day media dialogue on End Violence Against Children, (VAC) in Ibadan, Oyo state.
Sylvanus Onogu, National Population Commission (NPoPC), told Independent in an interview that there is a high prevalence of violence against children in Nigeria.
Onogu said: “Before the age of 18 years, approximately six out of every 10 children experience some form of violence. One in two children experience physical violence; one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence, while one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence.”
According to him, over half of children first experienced physical violence between the ages of 6 and 11 with approximately one in 10 children having first experience of physical violence under the age of five.
“Girls are significantly more likely to experience both sexual violence and physical violence than other combinations of violence,” he added.
He further said that a third of girls experienced their first incident of sexual violence between 14 and 15.
Onogu regretted that children are not speaking out, seeking or receiving services; stressing violence has a serious impact on girls’ and boys’ lives and future.
“Sexual violence is associated with higher risk for symptoms or diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) mental distress and thoughts of suicide among females and with mental distress among males,” he said.
Onogu therefore called for stiffer penalties and measures against those found guilty as violators of children rights.
As part of its goal to secure the future of the Nigerian child, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised its advocacy on the implementation of the Child Right Act.
Commenting on this, UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist, Sharon Oladiji, lamented on the hindrances faced in the implementation of child rights.
She said there are bottlenecks to securing rights of the Nigerian child, Oladiji said the hindrances are multi-dimensional and multi sectoral.
Oladiji further said: “We have to engage in capacity building for the child right protection managers in the country. capacity building with law enforcement agencies, institutions that are suppose to implement the child law are all having a lot of bottle necks.
“Across board, survivors’ rights developments is paramount. We have to programme for it and we have to make funding available and enforce implementation generally. All these are investments we need to make to realise rights of children,” she said.
Adopting the Convention of the Rights of a Child (CRC) which is a legal binding International human rights treaty adopted in November 20th 1989 by the UN Assembly states, “Life, Survival and Development; Article 6, recognises that every child has the inherent right to life, states parties should shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.”