Worried by the spate of rape cases, defilement of minors and rampant cases of incest, Mrs. Thompson called on the State Legislature to facilitate urgent activation of VAAP law which shall serve a weapon to victims of rape case and other gender related crimes in the State.
On her part, Dr. Nsekpong Udoh, the secretary, Akwa Ibom State Civil Society Forum equally pressed for Life in Prison for Rapist. Dr. Udoh observed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of rapists were released to decongest the prison and integrated into the society where they continue in causing havoc in the society.
Also condemning the scourge of Rape and other Gender Based Violence, Mrs. Uduak Umoh, the state coordinator, Child Protection Network(CPN), Akwa Ibom State Chapter reasoned that Legislative backing for CSOs on Gender Based Violence shall reduce dramatically if not eliminate spate of Child abuse cases including child defilement in the state
Mrs. Umoh commended 7th Assembly for their proactiveness in enacting laws geared towards eradicating crimes in the State and remained optimistic that with the proposed legal backing on gender based violence, the State shall remain a safe haven for citizenry and other residents.
On her part, Dr. Ini Adiakpan of Life Bridge and Development Foundation and a member of Child Protection Network solicited for the parliament to advise traditional rulers on keeping-off negotiations with rape, defilement and other gender based violence related cases for the law to take it’s full course, as such cases are totally out of their jurisdiction.
In his response, Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey commended the human rights activists for standing up for the vulnerable ones in the society, adding that channeling their worries and concerns to the State Assembly was a right step in the right direction.
Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. (Princess) Felicia Bassey, the Speaker said 7th Assembly is sensitive and responsive to the plight of the weaker ones in the society and kicks against rape in totality.
He assured them of maximum protection for rape victims and justice advocates and encouraged them to report any rape case in the State to the House Committee on Women Affairs and social welfare for adequate follow-up.
The speaker also asked them to report any person using position of power to influence or hinder justice for rape victims and other gender related crimes to the House while he charged them on instilling morals in their male children for a better society.
Speaker Bassey further advised them on educating the young girls in their domain to be weary of the company they keep, the kind of party they attend, knowing that they are prey for the psychopath as no real man rapes.
He charged them to believe in the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the pet projects of Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel and the 7th Assembly as the State shall soon become unsafe habitation for rapists.
This set of protesters were seen carrying placards with various inscriptions such as: ” Stand against rape and other gender violence, Life imprisonment for rapists, Am I next?, No means no, say no to rape, Rape brings trauma, Educate your male child”.
Other inscriptions were: “No mercy for rapists, We condemn rape, Stop violence against women, Tomorrow is too late – stand up for a girl child today, Rape is a crime punishable by the law, Real men don’t rape, “.
Some of CSOs present during the peaceful demonstration were: Akwa Ibom State Civil Society for HIV/ Aids, Child Protection Network, Association Against Child Sexual Gender Based Violence, Advocate of Peace Nature and Gender Justice, Brokcline Foundation,Life Bridge and Development Foundation.