Rape Cases Rose Exponentially During COVID-19 Lockdown- NAPTIP

Richard Ginika Izuora

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking of Persons, NAPTIP, has disclosed that reported cases of rape increased during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This was disclosed by Julie Okah-Donli is a Nigerian lawyer, chartered secretary and administrator, who serves as the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking.

Donli who was represented by Tolu Odugbesan, Head of Sexual and Gender-based unit of the agency on Tuesday, at a programme organised by Christabel Initiative which held in collaboration with the National Assembly joint committees on Drugs and Narcotics, said, “The statistics of gender and rape cases we have in the agency since 2015 is about 414. But during the pandemic, because people were not allowed to go out; the rate at which rape cases were been reported to the agency was overwhelming.

“They had nowhere else to go. They had no one else to go and express what they were feeling and as of date; we have 38 convictions in our sexual and offender register but this is just a fraction,” the DG said.

According to NAPTIP, the factors fuelling rape cases include: “culture of silence, patriachal nature of the society; which supports female subjugation, exposure to pornography, lack of gender balance in home training, mishandling of rape cases, non-existence of violence against persons in some states, delayed justice in some cases, abuse of drugs.”

Donli, listed the achievements by NAPTIP to include the creation of a sexual and gender-based violence unit; establishment of rapid response squad to rescue victims and perpetuators, launch of a national sex offence and service provider register.

Others include the establishment and training of a task force against human trafficking; as well as sexual and gender-based violence in 14 states of the federation; creation of a CANS UNSUB App for reporting cases of SBV in Nigerian universities and intense advocacy and sensitization.

Also, while proffering solutions, she highlighted how the country can reduce the incidences of sexual and gender-based violence.

She stated that gender bias and inadequate mainstream opportunities trigger depression and mental illness; noting that this comes with suicidal consequences which makes the victims self-medicate with abuse of drugs; thereby increasing the risk of drug addiction.

She stated that more sensitization and advocacy against sexual and gender-based violence and illicit drug abuse will end impunity at all levels of society.

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