Victims Seek Life Imprisonment For Rapists

Rape victims on Thursday besieged the National Assembly, demanding that bills that seek to protect women and children against violence are passed before the end of the current legislative session.

The protesters, mostly young ladies, who shared their agonizing rape experiences, had female federal lawmakers almost in tears as they listened to them.

A bill, currently before the Senate and the House of Representatives, seeks life jail for rapists, and other sexual offenders.

The ladies, who participated in the mock tribunal on sexual and gender-based violence, organised by the National Assembly Women Affairs Committee and the Legislative Advocacy Coalition for Violence in Nigeria, decried how efforts made by them to seek redress legally had been frustrated due to weak laws against such a crime.

The victims, who spoke with their faces covered, passionately appealed to female lawmakers at the meeting to save other ladies, either of their ages or much younger than them.

Chris Anyanwu and Oluremi Tinubu, members of senate, who spoke at the occasion, condemned rape, which they described as a wicked crime against the womenfolk. They vowed to do everything within their powers to ensure that relevant bills that seek to protect women and children against violence were passed before the end of the current legislative year.

Joy Ezeilo, Founding Director, Women Aid Collective, said the purpose of staging the mock tribunal at the National Assembly was to spotlight cases of gender-based violence in Nigeria.

Ezeilo explained that the organisers also wanted to use the event to raise the voices of victims and survivors towards eliciting urgent action in enacting protective laws, especially the one that had made significant progress in both chambers of the National Assembly.

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