Any harmful act of sexual, physical, psychological, mental and emotional abuse perpetrated against a person’s will based on the gender is referred to as Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV). Many have attributed the causes to be cultural, economic, political or legal.
Stakeholders Stakeholders in Ekiti State have continued to institute framework to nip the menace in the bud, and this is just as they constantly decried the alarming rate of SGBV despite several advocacies in place. SGBV has posed grievous concerns as some parents/guardians have been found culpable while some cases take mysterious and incredible looks.
In 2018, an 18-year-old boy, Chidi Okoye was arrested by police in Ekiti State over an alleged rape of seven female students of the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital. While parading the suspect with his accomplice, Odunmbaku Kayode, at Iworoko Police Divisional Headquarters, the EKSU Chief Security Officer, Captain Tunde Ajayi stated that the suspects were not students of the institution and always moved around with pistols to unleash terror on their victims mostly living at nearby Iworoko.
Also in 2019, a 52-year-old engineer, Noel Davies confessed to police in Ekiti State that he consistently raped his own 12-year-old daughter, the suspect was said to be working at the ICT Department of Ekiti State University, he explained to police that the issue was resolved and concealed within the family when the wife got to know, however, the cat was let out of the bag when the victim confided in her teacher during a class lesson on sex education. The matter then got to the ears of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) who then reported the case to the police and the culprit was eventually arrested.
In July this year 2022, a man was also arrested by the Ekiti State Police Command for allegedly impregnating his 15-year-old step daughter. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Sunday Abutu told newsmen that: “The man identified as Ojo Babatunde of No 15, Edugbe Street, Obadore Omuo-Ekiti, was arrested for repeatedly raping and impregnating his 15-year-old step daughter.”
Rape The victim according to police explained that her stepfather started raping her when the mother gave birth through caesarean section (CS) and had to spend about three weeks in the hospital leaving her and the step father at home. In September this year, 31-year-old Ojo Idowu Adebayo was sentenced to life imprisonment by an Ekiti State High Court for raping a nine-year-old primary three pupil.
The victim explained: “On that day I was fetching water for our kitchen he asked me to come and get something for my grandmother, when I got there, there was nobody in the house, I stood by the door, he asked me to enter but I refused, he forced me to his room and covered my mouth with his hand to remove his trouser and started forcing his thing to where I used to urinate, I was shouting but nobody heard me, because he covered my mouth. I was weeping because my private part was paining me. He warned me not to tell anybody.
“When I got home, I did not tell my grandmother but on the second day when I could not walk well, my grandmother asked what happened to me, I told her what ‘Oga ID’ did to me.” These are very few out of many reported cases of SGBV in the state.
Sex Offenders’ Register In an attempt to intensify efforts at tackling SGBV in Ekiti, the Ministry of Justice announced the opening of a Sex Offenders’ Register and name shaming culprits as additional measures at curtailing the menace. However, many still advocated strict penalties and checks over undue collaboration or influence subverting wrath of law on perpetrators.
The most vulnerable in this menace are women especially from poor, rural or indigenous communities, younger girls, older people and those living with disabilities while the perpetrators are predominantly men. The culture of silence has continued to trail the fight against SGBV.
Victims in most cases based on social cultural challenges often find it difficult to speak up about their experiences. Capacity building At a capacity building, recently organised in Akure, Ondo State for female traditional rulers and market women, the Executive Director of Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr Abiola Akiyode- Afolabi decried that over 80 million women or girls have experienced gender-based violence.
She stated that: “Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), a major component of GBV, is a global act that has been on the increase and affects one out of every three males. According to a United Nations Population Fund study, 28% of Nigerian women aged 25-29 have been victims of physical violence since age 15.
This is just as Stakeholders in Ekiti State expressed serious lamentations over uncomplimentary traces that the menace is showering on their efforts looking at the rate reported cases attracts a lot of regret and trauma.
The just concluded administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi decried the level at which Ekiti witnesses issues of rape and defilement despite the law framework in place to end gender-based violence. Sex predators The former governor’s wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi expressed surprise and concern on how even people living with all forms of disabilities (PWDs) and the aged fall victims in the hands of the “sex predators” She said: “Sex predators don’t care whether one is disabled or not or wear skimpy outfits or not.
They can do it to anyone. I have seen many physically challenged being sexually abused even an 85-year-old woman was also a victim. What could have attracted her to these perpetrators?”
In Ekiti State, the journey to protecting women and children against forms of abuses and violence began in 2010, during the first administration of Governor Fayemi. Barely two months after the commencement of the first administration of her husband, Mrs. Fayemi had on November 25,2010 introduced a Gender-based Violence (GBV) Bill determined to end inequality against women and the girl child.
Mrs Fayemi met with relevant stakeholders to ensure the success of the bill. This she did in conjunction with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA). GBV Bill In 2011, Mrs. Fayemi sponsored the GBV Bill and was passed into law for the first time by the fourth state House of Assembly which had Dr Adewale Ominrin as the Speaker.
The lawmakers before the accent conducted public hearings for proper deliberation with stakeholders in combatting the alarming cases of the SGBV. The bill among others provides protection for both genders against possible abuse as well as ensures justice for those that have experienced different forms of gender-based violence. On November 25, 2011, the GBV Bill was finally signed into law by Governor Fayemi in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
With the development, Ekiti became the first state in the country to domesticate Gender-based Violence Law that seeks to protect both genders against physical and psychological abuse and violence. However, slow dispensation of justice in the trial of sexual offenders was identified as one of the challenges retarding the efforts of stakeholders in curbing GBV.
A Nigerian Gender-based Violence sub sector report (GBVIMS Mid-Year Report) for 2020 stated that 99% of all cases of GBV affect women and girls, it was further stated that in Nigeria, about 30% of women and girls between the ages of 15-49 experience different form of sexual abuse . Policy frameworks Stressing the determination and readiness to tackle GBV and nip it in the bud,
the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the just concluded administration in the state, Wale Fapohunda stated that Ekiti has the most robust legal and policy frameworks in Nigeria for the promotion of Gender Equality. The Women’s Notable laws according to Fapohunda include: Female Genital Mutilation Law (2002); Widowhood Practices Law (2002); Child Rights Law (2003): Gender and Equal Opportunities Law (2013); Gender-based Violence (prohibition) Law 2019 (revising the 2011 GBV Law), and the Sexual Violence Against Children Compulsory Treatment and Care) Law (2020). He affirmed that: “Ekiti state was the first state to domesticate the National Gender Policy in 2011.” A black book called the sexual offenders register was first opened in the state in 2013. The book has compilation of convicted sexual offenders.
The government stated that the step would make perpetrators serve as deterrent to others who might want to find pleasures in sexual harassment deeds. The black book policy of the state’s Ministry of Justice entails the publication of the details including pictures of convicted sexual offenders in the register which is made available at the community of the offenders and across the state to name and shame the culprits, the policy according to the government has been workable while efforts never rescinded.
For instance, two convicted sex offenders were the first to have their identities published in the black book this year. The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Fapohunda, who disclosed that was the first set of publication of sex offenders in the year, stressed the government in the recent years had expressed concern about the increasing cases of sexual violence in the state.
The publicly name shamed convicted sex offenders that opened the 2022 register are: Adebamigbe Samuel, a 37-year-old native of Ikere Ekiti, who was formerly a resident of No. 37, Ajebamidele area, Ado- Ekiti, and Dayo Asiwaju, a 27-year-old native of Ikoro Ekiti, formerly a resident in Ikoyi Street, Ikere-Ekiti.
Adebamigbe is currently serving a life sentence in the Federal Correctional Centre, Ado Ekiti for the rape of 13-year-old girl and had his name recorded in the Ministry of Justice’s Sex Offenders’ Register. On the other hand, Asiwaju is also currently serving a life sentence at the same correctional centre, and also has his name registered in Sex Offenders’ Register.