By Deborah Ekanem

The Government of Akwa Ibom State has listed Child defilement and rape among non bailable offences, warned that perpetrators will henceforth face a  sanction of jail terms without bail.

This was made known by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Women Affairs, Dr Glory Edet during  A one- Day training workshop on Gender Based Violence Mitigation for the Police and Relevant Non-governmental Organizations held recently at Women Development Centre, Uyo.

Her words “Anybody that rapes a child there is nothing like bail for that person and there is no sentiment about it no matter who is involved, be it a father raping his own child and so on, we must make sure that we work together to prosecute that person”.

Speaking further, the Commissioner said the workshop was a wake up call for Police and other relevant  non- governmental Organizations to live up to their responsibilities incurbing Gender Based Violence.

Dr. Edet viewed that  over 35% of women world over according to the United Nation Statistics have experienced physical or sexual  violence in their live time.

The Commissioner noted
with dismay that GBV undermines not only the safety and dignity of womanhood but also to a large extent distain their overall wellbeing.

Dr. Edet while frowning at the alarming rate of GBV intimated that the Ministry of Women Affairs in the last one year has attended to well over 452 cases of Gender Based Violence, maintained that out of the 452 cases 18 culprits
had been procecuted while 16 have been jailed for different terms of imprisonment.

She called for co-operation on the side  of Police and Relevant Non-governmental Organizations to join effort with the Ministry of Women Affairs in tackling the menace.

However, Dr Edet thanked the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel whom she described as a gender friendly governor for providing an enabling environment for GBV cases to be followed-up and for maintaining family Courts where such cases could be handled.

She has directed victims of GBV to a free toll line – 08031230382 or visit Ministry of Women Affairs for a remedy.

Presenting a keynote address, the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Command, Mr Imohimi Edga noted that GBV had topped the crime record in the state, the statistics he said he was briefed upon by his field officers on his arrival to the state as a Commissioner of Police.

” I can recall that immediately I got to the State as Commissioner of police I called my field officers to brief me of prevalence crimes in the state and one issue  that had very high statistics rate of prevalence was that of Gender Based Violence, particularly issues such as rape, defilement, incest etc,” Cp Edgal stated.

As part of effort in tackling the menace, the Police Boss said he as directed every Police Station in the state to have a Family Support Unit Desk for adequate preliminary investigations on GBV cases.

He maintained that GBV offenders will be seriously dealt with even as he frowned at the situation whereby some Police officers  compromise with culprits, the act he said has often times thwarted their collective efforts.

He assured that such indisciplined officers will henceforth be recommended for serious disciplinary punishment.

Meanwhile, the DPO- Itam Divisional Police Station, Csp Francis Erhabor took participants
on paper presentation “Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response: The Role of the Police”, while the second resource person, Mrs. Grace Larry Ekanem spoke on ” Debilitating Effects of Gender Based Violence”.

Goodwill messages were received from the Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP S.Horsfall, superintendent of Police in charge of Family Support Unit, Shullamite Otokpo, representative of Human Rights commission, Medical Women Association of Nigeria (FIDA), Akwa Ibom State Sexual Assault Referral Centre among others.


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