19th April, 2012
The Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Abia chapter, Mrs. Uzoamaka Uche-Ikonne, has raised an alarm over the rising cases of rape and other sexual assaults in the state.
Uche-Ikonnetold the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Umuahia that about 50 percent of reported matters at the FIDA clinic in Umuahia were cases of rape and sexual assault, especially on under-aged girls.
“Most of the sexual offences are against girls below 13 years and such act is viewed before the law as defilement which attracts severe punishment upon conviction.”
Uche-Ikonne said that as a body fighting for the rights and protection of women and children, FIDA was beginning to get worried on the frequency at which sexual assaults were reported in the area.
She called on relevant government agencies to be more responsive to their duties and for parents to be more careful about whom their young girls associated with.
The FIDA chairperson said preliminary investigations by the body showed that some of the perpetrators were people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Some of the perpetrators commit the act because of the erroneous belief that if they sleep with an under-aged girl, the infection will be cured.
“The claim is not only false and wicked, but lacks scientific proof because nobody infected with HIV/AIDS had been cured through this process.”
Uche-Ikonneadvised parents and victims of sexual assaults to report such crime to FIDA for prompt medical and legal actions, adding that “concealment of defilement and rape cases on grounds of stigma is now old-fashion because the danger inherent in such cover ups are enormous”.