By Aisha Yusuf
Chairman, Steering Committee, Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Kano, Malam Sanusi Ali, has called for a stiff penalty for rapists in the country.
The centre was established at Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital by a US-based NGO, Path Finder to provide medical and surgical intervention to victims of sexual gender based violence in the state.
He made the call while addressing a news conference in Kano on Thursday as part of activities to commemorate this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women which held recently.
He said the call was necessary in view of the increasing number of rape cases especially in Kano and other states of the federation.
According to him, the centre had within the last two years recorded 1, 027 rape and other related cases in the state.
“The centre has from January 2017 to December 2017 received 400 cases while from January 2018 to date no fewer than 627 cases were recorded,” he said.
He attributed the increasing number of reported cases to massive sensitization campaign being carried out by the centre and other stakeholders.
“Even though the Kano State Government in 2014 amended section 283 of the penal code for the enforcement of 14 jail term for convicted rapists as part of effort to check the menace.
“But there is still need for stiffest penalty against rapists in the state in view of the alarming rate of the cases,” Ali said.
Ali, who is also the Director, Citizens Rights, said the centre would soon commence sensitisation visit to all the 44 local government areas and major market places across the state.
He said during the visit, the centre would seek audience with traditional rulers and religious leaders as they have significant roles to play in enlightening the people on the dangers of the illegal act.
“We have also made some recommendations to the state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice on how to ensure speedy trial of suspected rapists.
“We are also conducting sensitisation programme in schools in addition to working with other NGOs to ensure speedy trial of suspects at the court,” he added.
He said the centre had also secured the conviction of 175 rapists from January 2017 to December 2017 in the state.