…Urges NHRC to establish “dedicated” toll-free number to report cases
The National Association of Seadogs (NAS), Pyrates Confraternity, has urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), particularly in Rivers State,
to consider launching a telephone line for reporting violence against women and girls.
NAS made the call in a letter addressed to the coordinator of the commission in Rivers State signed by its Port Harcourt chapter Vice President, Kennedy Barango.
The confraternity expressed concerns about the disturbing spate of domestic abuses and violence against women and girls, saying the menace needs proactive intervention.
The group noted the alarming reported cases of domestic offences committed during the months of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, saying the toll-free line would help in reduction of abuses and violence.
According to NAS, between March and June, 2020, there were documented 299 cases of violence against women and girls, with minors taking over 50 percent of the attack.
Pyrates noted: “We recognize and appreciate the critical role of the Commission as Nigeria’s national human rights body established to deal with matters relating to the promotion and protection of human rights and investigation of human rights violations.
“It is for this reason that we have deemed it appropriate to call your attention to an emergent and increasing pattern of abuses against women in particular.
“Violence against women is one of the most under-reported forms of human rights abuse in Nigeria. Investigations by our Association indicates that majority of the cases take the form of domestic violence by husbands against their spouses, but also of a sexual nature in work places, homes and public spaces.
“Because of the prevalent traditional consideration of women as properties of their husbands, and the stigma of being associated with sexual abuses, the majority of cases are never reported and their perpetrators are never prosecuted.
“The reality in Nigeria and most of sub Saharan Africa is that cases of violence against women are hardly reported. In many instances, acts of violence against women as serious as rape, are considered ‘family matters’ that should be resolved without the prosecution of the perpetrators.
“This approach not only provides abusers the opportunity to keep abusing others, but leaves the victims psychologically wrecked for life.
Reliable reports indicate that human rights violations against women may have increased significantly on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it engendered.
“According to foremost rights group, ActionAid Nigeria, Nigeria has seen an alarming increase in reported cases of rape and killings of women and girls as a result of the pandemic.
“Between March and June, 2020, we have documented 299 cases of violence against women and girls across seven states; 51 of these were sexual violence cases involving minors between the ages of 3 to 16.
“High profile killings like that of Tina Ezekwe who was shot by a trigger-happy police officer in Lagos, have traumatised the nation and led to country-wide protests and demonstrations”, NAS stated.
The Confraternity said that despite the prevalence and spread of this type of abuse, no structures have been established to address it in a manner that ensures improved reporting, investigation and prosecution.
NAS, however, expressed willingness to partner with the commission to ensure the menace is nipped in the bud.
“The National Association of Seadogs is offering to support the setting-up of a dedicated mobile toll-free telephone line for victims of abuses to report and seek justice”, Barango declared.
SOURCE: THE SUN