Members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Women Commission has staged a peaceful protest against incessant rape at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The women, numbering about 50, accompanied by men, were led by the Chairperson of the Group, Comrade Oluyemisi Oyejide.
The protesters chanted solidarity songs and displayed placards with inscriptions such as “women are not sex toys,” “any gender can be a victim of rape,” “say no to rape,” “start raising responsible children,” “no to rape is a collective responsibility,” and “future mothers deserve protection” amongst others.
Oluyemisi revealed that the group were at the Assembly to tell the Speaker to provide a stiffer penalty for rape cases.
“We want the Speaker to put in place penalties to deal with rapists because justice delayed is justice denied.
“Most times, rapists go scot-free and others would go into it. I learnt that sex offenders law is in Lagos State so they should try and merge it with that of the federal government.
“If there is a database for offenders, those who commit the offence in one state would not be able to go to another state to commit another offence,” she said.
She stressed that the campaign for the programme is ‘Say No To Rape And Sexual Violence,’ adding that they had done a programme on the issue at Adeyemi Bero Hall in Alausa.
“We are at the Assembly to tell our government about issues affecting rape. The Inspector-General of Police said that there were about 730 rape cases between January and May this year.
“We felt it was lockdown that led to the increase then, but we discovered that rape cases keep increasing after lockdown.
“We want to appeal to our government that whenever a rape case is reported the alleged rapist should be prosecuted immediately to serve as a deterrent to others,” she said.
She explained that when people see a rapist go free they would feel there is no big deal about it, but that when a rapist is punished others would be careful.
The Chairperson emphasised that by now there should be over 1,000 rape cases in Nigeria in 2020, which she said is on the high side now.
“We want to encourage people to come out to talk about rape, especially the victims, it is an emotional thing.
“There is already a law by Senator Oluremi Tinubu and we want it to the passed and signed by the President.
“We should have a national criminal database so that a criminal would not go to another state to commit another crime. If they treat the cases urgently people would stop committing rape,” she said.
In his response, Honorable Victor Akande, who addressed the protesters on behalf of the Speaker of the House, Rt. Honorable Mudashiru Obasa said that they would take the case back to the Speaker.
Akande stated that the Speaker is someone that listens and protects women.
“We want to thank you for coming to the state house of assembly and for the way you have conducted yourselves and what you are doing is to protect our mothers and daughters.
“We have a law that we wanted to amend and one of our members made a suggestion on it and Honorable Gbolahan Yishawu also came up with a bill on rape.
“I promise you that within a short period of time we will ensure that the rape law is amended to capture every facet that has to do with rape. We will soon have a database so that we can liaise with other states on rape cases,” he said.
The lawmaker was joined by two of his colleagues; Honorable Olayiwola Olawale Sobur (Mushin 2) and Honorable Nurein Akinsanya (Mushin 1).