Human rights lawyer and founder, Women Empowerment and Legal Aids, Mrs Funmi Falana on Monday said that the recent opening of an offenders’ register was not enough to curb incidences of rape and gender-based violence in the country.
Falana, wife of popular human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana (SAN), faulted the Police for mismanaging rape cases, and also lamented the refusal of rape victims to report incidences.
She said this while visiting Erelu Angela Children Home at Iyin Ekiti in the Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State to donate gifts to the children.
She said, “It is sad that rape and a number of indecent assaults in Nigeria are on the increase over the years. Merely opening a register for the offenders will not solve the problem. The real problem is in the prosecution of the offenders. If offenders are prosecuted and brought to book, it will serve as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.
“Lagos opened a register for rape offenders three, four years ago, Ekiti also opened recently. This has not really made any difference.
“In the process of prosecution, police are found of mismanaging the case from the time of investigation. Prosecution of rape cases is so technical such that before you know it, the victim will say ‘I don’t want to pursue the case again.’
“Of a fact, many victims refuse to speak out because of the stigma attached to rape and that is the reason why the people continue to perpetrate the evil act. Only few cases get prosecuted because most of the cases are not reported.”
She also called on the government to put structures in place to cater for citizens who fall victims and have children whom they are forced to dispose of due to financial constraints.
“Government should be more responsive to the citizenry in making life better for them. Though throwing babies away should not be an option for any mother who is facing economic challenges; if the government puts in place social security scheme for the people, there will be assurance that they will have something to take care of themselves and their children, so there won’t be any basis to throw away their child.
“Chapter 2 of the country’s constitution stipulates that government should provide the socio-economic needs of its people, medical care, good roads even education,” she said.