Mrs Funmi Falana
A human rights lawyer and the founder, Women Empowerment and Legal Aids, Mrs Funmi Falana, said on Monday that the opening of offenders’ register was not enough to stem incidents of rape and gender-based violence in the country.
She noted that concerted efforts to ensure prosecution of s*x offenders would go a long way to deal with rapists.
Falana, who lamented the rising rates of rape and GBV in the country, said mismanagement of rape cases by the police had been responsible for why some victims developed cold feet in reporting rape cases and thus allowed offenders to go scot-free.
The women’s rights activist, who is the wife of human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), said this at the Erelu Angela Children Home at Iyin Ekiti in the Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State during her yearly visit to fete the children and donate gifts to them.
Falana lamented that the refusal of rape victims to speak out had ensured that most offenders escaped prosecution, hence people continued to perpetrate the evil act.
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.”
While canvassing provision of socio-economic needs of the people, Falana said, “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.”
The Deputy Director, Ministry of Women Affairs, Nathaniel Adeniran, and the head of the children home, Mrs Bunmi Adeosun, on behalf of ministry and state government, thanked Falana for her kind gesture.