The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, says Nigeria records 717 rape incidents between January and May, 2020.
Adamu said this on Monday while briefing State House reporters on the efforts being made by the federal government to tackle sexual and gender-based violence, especially rape across the country in company of the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, and the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.
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The IGP, who spoke after a meeting with President Muhammad Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said suspects had been arrested while 631 cases had been successfully investigated and charged to court.
He said 52 cases remained under investigation.
The police chief, who described rape and defilement as “wicked and serious offences”, said the government had taken the matter to another level now because of the recent upsurge in the incidents.
He appealed to members of the public to assist police with necessary information in order to stop the menace, saying various stakeholders have now been collaborating with security agencies.
Adamu said: “We are here to brief you on sexual and gender based violence and the action that the government has been taking, particularly the Nigeria Police.
“It has come to the public knowledge now that because of the COVID-19 restrictions, we have surge in cases of rape and gender-based violence.
“These are cases that are now coming up but we want to let members of the public know that rape and gender based violence has been there.
“The law enforcement agents have been dealing with these cases, in most cases, members of the public are not aware of the actions that the law enforcement agents have been taking.
“The Nigeria police, so far from January-May 2020, we have recorded about 717 rape incidents that were reported across the country, about 799 suspects have been arrested, 631 cases conclusively investigated and charged to court and 52 cases are left and under investigation.
“The police and other security agencies and other non-governmental organisations have been collaborating, to see to it that these cases of rape and gender based violence are dealt with.
“The NGOs and CSOs that have the capacity to deal with this kind of offenses, have been cooperating with law enforcement agencies in capacity building, management of victims of rape and similar offenses and procedures for collecting evidence, towards successful prosecution.
“The government has taken the matter to another level now because of the scourge we have noticed.
“I will call on every Nigerian that has or comes across any victim of sexual offenses or rape or gender based violence, to quickly report to law enforcement agents.
“Because, keeping it without reporting it will give room for the perpetrators to continue to commit the offenses.
“It is a very wicked offense, it is very serious offense, it is very wicked of an individual to engage in rape or defilement.
“And there are a lot of causes, some are doing it for ritual purposes, some are doing it because they are within the family and they see the victims and have the urge to go into it and do it.
“But such people should not be allowed to go free.
“I am just to inform you that government is doing something about it and you can see me with the ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Women Affairs Development, Pauline Tallen.
“From now, national partnership with every stakeholder is what we are going into now and not only within the country but within the sub-region.
“We have to partner with organizations that are involved in this.
“We know we have been working seriously with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other civil society organizations.
“So, it is just to tell you that government is doing something seriously to curtail this type of offense.”