By Lucky Isibor
A coalition of civil societies and Non Government Organizations, NGOs, in Edo state Wednesday, 16 August staged a peaceful protest in Benin City against rape and violence against women, especially minors.
The coalition which was led by a non governmental and non profit making sexual based organization, BraveHeart Initiative,walked round major Streets in the state capital, taking the protest to Edo State House of Assembly and the premises of the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, press centre.
Leader of the group and Executive Director, BraveHeart Initiative, Ms Priscilla Usiobaifo, said the rate of rape and violence against women have assumed a frightening proportion disclosing that between January and June 2017, her organisation recorded 21 cases of sexual violence against women.
She noted that stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians must come to the aide of viticims as some of the cases are quite disturbing.
“We are here with one purpose in mind because we are all concerned about the prevalence of sexual violence in Edo state.
“We have recorded 21 cases. Out this 21, 15 of them are sexual defilement, by defilement, I mean minor children in Edo state under the age of 14. Some 2 years 8 months, 3years, 8years and in about 5 cases they were serially raped which means it was not the first time. And out of this 10 cases reported, 7 of them was reported to the police and they are going through prosecution while 3 of them have been successfully convicted”, she said.
Priscilla however appealed passionately to the NUJ to assist the group to beam search light on cases of sexual abuse of women as it poses serious danger to the health of the nation and demand justice for those who have fallen victims of the criminal act.
The Chairman of the Council, NUJ, Sir Rowland Osakue in his remarks assured the group of support in all its ramifications as rape in whatever guise is a heinous crime, saying no amount of justification should warrant a man of whatever age to defile a minor.
He stated that no sexual relationship should take place without the consent of both parties assuring that the union will assist in ensuring that sexual offences are adequately reported and appealed to judicial officers to give out maximum punishment in proven cases so as to serve as deterrent to others.