Despite VAPP Law, rape of underage girls on the increase in Bauchi – NBA

The Vice Chairperson of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, in Bauchi State, Sadiya Saleh, has expressed concern over the increasing incidents of rape involving underage girls in the state.

According to her, despite the enactment of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, Law, there is a continuous rise in rape cases.

She stated that at least 10 cases of rape of girls under the age of 10 are reported weekly in Bauchi, calling for urgent action.

Saleh, who doubles as the Chairperson, Human Rights Committee of the NBA, and Chairperson, Law Officers Association of Nigeria, said that rape cases in Bauchi are among the highest across the 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory.

She spoke at a 2-day workshop in commemoration of the International Women’s Day, 2024, organized by Attah Sister’s Helping Hands (ASHH) Foundation, Bauchi.

The workshop was themed, ‘Response Action to Women Peace and Security Pillars (Participation, Prevention, Protection, Relieve and Recovery) as a Means to Promoting Gender Sensitivity in Bauchi State’.

She said, “The rate of child rape in Bauchi is one of the highest in the North, not just in North-East but in the while North.

“This is because almost on a weekly basis, we record not less than 10 cases of child rape in the State.

“The rate is very, very high and this is in children, not rape among women generally, but in children below the age of 10.

“It is very high and it is a very disturbing and alarming situation to have children of that age being raped in Bauchi State in such a way. They are kids, they don’t deserve that and then, it’s very disheartening for us.

“Bauchi has started implementing the VAPP Law because we’ve had cases where suspects have been sentenced to life imprisonment for rape cases even without confessional statements, so long as the victim will come to court and confess and identify the perpetrator and say ‘yes, he raped me.’

“I don’t know what is happening that there is a rise in rape cases, that was why I said we need to create more awareness because it’s like the crime is going higher and higher even with the VAPP Law and Administration of Criminal Justice Law.”

Saleh attributed the rise in rape cases to poverty and lack of education.

According to her, some of the victims were either lured or forced while they were hawking.

In a presentation on ‘Safe Spaces for Women and Girls: Promoting human rights’, the Bauchi State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Yahcit Dala said that several efforts have been made over the years to address gender based violence against women and girls especially the creation of the VAPP Law.

She said that for the objective of the legislations to be achieved, government and stakeholders must go beyond the passage and implementation of the laws.

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