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Hanan Buhari: Why rape cases are increasing in Nigeria

Hanan Buhari, a daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, has lamented the lack of enforcement of laws protecting women against rape and other gender-related violence in…

Hanan Buhari, a daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, has lamented the lack of enforcement of laws protecting women against rape and other gender-related violence in Nigeria.
While speaking at the Hanan Buhari Foundation’s inaugural symposium on sexual violence, held at the Banquet Hall of the State House late Friday, she said: “Despite Acts such as Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) 2015 and various states’ Violence Against Persons Prohibition Laws in Nigeria, which are all aimed at addressing issues of rape and other forms of sexual violence, enforcement of its laws is still sorely lacking in far too many cases.

“A 2018 Statistical report on Women and Men in Nigeria using data obtained from the Nigeria Police Force and Ministry of Justice revealed that the rape incidences for women and girls are on an increasing trend from 63% in 2015 to 72.1% in 2016 and 69.3% in 2017.

“According to data from Nigeria’s National Anti-Trafficking Agency, only about 32 cases were reported between 2019 and 2020 for fear of stigmatization.”

She said rape survivors must have immediate access to a health clinic that can provide emergency medical care, including HIV prevention and treatment, as well as counselling.
“When a victim of violence files a police report, she must have faith that she will receive justice and that the perpetrator will be punished.
“In addition, an adolescent boy in school learning about health and sexuality must be taught that coercion, violence, and discrimination against girls are all unacceptable,” Hanan insisted.
The Chief Executive Officer, Hanan Buhari Foundation (HBF), Hanan, said the organisation was established to tackle rape in Nigeria.
“I am certain that with the launching of this foundation with programs and policies designed to help the victims of this injustice to scale through various fronts of human endeavours and with the help of the media, we can make underreporting of rape cases a thing of the past,” she added.
On his part, Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, called on rape victims to defile the “Doctrine of silence” and speak out to get justice.
Mustapha, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, lamented that the country had problems around gender-based violence, “particularly around the issue of rape, because it’s been engraved in our tradition the doctrine of silence that has persisted for a very long time, people don’t talk about it.
“It’s a taboo, people are being forced to treat it in a manner that the culprit would not be severely dealt with according to the law.”
He blamed the legislative arm of the government for not giving the necessary encouragement for people to report, investigate and try suspects because of the intricate legal system.
“We must initiate a conversation around sexual violence to deal with this issue at the family level, community level, at national level and globally, its a major challenge,” he added.