As part of its efforts to get justice for victims and reduce the incidence of rape and other gender-based violence in the country, the Nigeria Police Force has disclosed the arrest of no fewer than 799 suspected rapists across the nation.
It explained that the numbers of suspects arrested between January to May 2020 were as a result of the government’s concerted effort through prompt responses to the crimes which have been on the high in recent time.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, who attributed the surge in the cases of the crime to lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus, said the police and other security agencies, in collaboration with non-government organizations, were working to bring an end to cases of sexual violence and rape.
Briefing State House Correspondents on Monday, after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, the Police boss said the Force had also been working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as part of the government efforts, adding that the suspects would be tried and serve necessary punishment if found guilty.
“The Nigeria Police, so far from January-May 2020, we have recorded about 717 rape incidents that were reported across the country, about 799 suspects have been arrested, 631 cases conclusively investigated and charged to court and 52 cases are left and under investigation.
“It is a very wicked offense, it is a very serious offense, it is very wicked of an individual to engage in rape or defilement and there are a lot of causes; some are doing it for ritual purposes, some are doing it because they are within the family and they see the victims and have the urge to go into it and do it. But such people should not be allowed to go scot-free.
“The police and other security agencies and other non-governmental organizations have been collaborating, to see to it that these cases of rape and gender-based violence are dealt with. The NGOs and CSOs that have the capacity to deal with this kind of offenses, have been cooperating with law enforcement agencies in capacity building, management of victims of rape and similar offenses and procedures for collecting evidence, towards successful prosecution.
“The government has taken the matter to another level now because of the surge we have noticed. I will call on every Nigerian that has or comes across any victim of sexual offenses or rape or gender-based violence, to quickly report to law enforcement agents because keeping it without reporting it will give room for the perpetrators to continue to commit more of the offenses.
“From now onward, a national partnership with every stakeholder is what we are going into now and not only within the country but within the subregion. We have to partner with organizations that are involved in this. We know we have been working seriously with UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and other civil society organizations. So just to tell you that government is doing something seriously to curtailed this type of offense”, Adamu said.