Senate investigates increase in Rape and Sexual Assault

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has passed a motion to investigate the increase in rape and sexual assault across the country.

The motion was passed on Tuesday during the plenary session presided over by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.

Senate’s passage of the motion followed debate on the issue titled, “Urgent need to investigate the alarming rate of Rape and Sexual Assault against Women, Children and Vulnerable people across the country” sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

Senator Na’Allah called for urgent attention to the frightening increase in cases of sexual violence, notably rape where more than half of the victims are minors below the age of consent.

He said that in most cases, the perpetrators were individuals familiar to the victims which include neighbors, employers and family members.

The motion is meant to express Senate’s concern that the activities of certain sexual predators represent a serious security threat to vulnerable segments of society.

The Deputy Leader stated that rape and sexual assault figures reveal that these crimes ignore gender as both males and females are victims.

“What is worse is that, many perpetrators are never brought to justice due to poor rates of prosecution and convictions,” he stated.

Rise of Rape
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, lauded the Deputy Majority Leader, for introducing the motion and rallying his distinguished colleagues behind the effort to raise the alarm on the rise of rape and sexual assault in Nigeria.

“The distinguished Majority Leader has once again shown that he is a leader of compassion who believes in the rule of law. The crimes of rape and sexual assault that afflict today’s Nigeria cannot be tolerated and demand increased attention from law enforcement and civil society,” the Senate President said.

The Senate in its resolutions urged the Inspector General of Police to investigate and prosecute violent sexual abuse to the fullest extent of the law.

It mandated the relevant Senate Committees to exercise their legislative and oversight function to seek solutions that would drastically reduce the incidents of rape and sexual assault.

It further urged the National Human Rights Commission, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other security agencies to establish functional help desks to provide increased support for victims.

The lawmakers also urged judges and magistrates to revisit court sentencing policies on violent sexual offences to reflect the very serious nature of the crimes.

Confidence O