Government of Anambra has described rape as a social vice — an infernal pandemic of sorts — that must not be allowed to exist in the state.
“Any one found guilty of such offences will face the full wrath of the law,’’ Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue vowed in Awka on Aug. 5.
She was speaking during the 5th “Meet The Media’’, an interactive forum for ex-raying the achievements of the Obiano administration, organised by the Governor’s Media Team in Awka.
State was to serve as a final warning to rapists and other sexual offenders still lurking around in the state to opt for areas they could still be condoned.
Reacting to questions from the team, Lady Mezue confirmed that the Anambra Government under Gov Obiano has taken a firm position against rapists and sexual offenders in the state.
She also said that the administration had set up the Anambra State Child Right’s Implementation Committee (ANSCRIC), to enforce the laws against molestation, sexual violation of any kind and rape of any Anambra child, especially the girl-child.
Lady Mezue decried the rising cases of the unholy act, noting, however, that the number of reported rape cases in the state appeared to be increasing because of the level of awareness created by the state government.
“The state has deliberately encouraged and emboldened victims to come forward with their stories,’’ she noted, ostensibly to be a in a position to identify it as a menace worth stopping.
According to her on Sept. 17, 2019, Gov. Obiano established Ntasi Centre as part of Obi Ndinonafufu Catholic Hospital.
NTASI Centre is a sexual assault referral centre at Enugwu-Ukwu in collaboration with the Rule of Law and Anti Corruption (ROLAC).
ROLAC on the other hand is an agency under the British Council and European Union, to receive reports from and offer counseling to victims.
“So far, we have recorded 103 cases at the referral centre,’’ she said stressing, “There, we have qualified doctors and medical support staff members to examine victims.
“We counsel them and refer cases to the legal department who prosecute them through the state Ministry of Justice.’’ she said.
The commissioner enjoined parents and guardians and indeed all victims of rape and sexual assault to break the culture of silence and stigmatisation, often associated with such cases.
“Do not keep quiet and condone evil. Report to the centre and be assured that the state government will not only protect you but fight to ensure that every vile offenders are brought to justice.’’
Lady Mezue emphasised that government would continue to fight the evil menace of rape.
“We will not allow rapists any room in Anambra State as Gov Obiano has issued strict directives to prosecute rapists and all sexual offenders under the Child Protection Law of 2014 and Violence Against Persons Law of 2017 enacted by the Anambra State Government.’’
According to her the laws stipulate a jail term for offenders to run from 14-year term to life imprisonment.