Statistics gathered by a human rights organisation, Partnership for Justice, has shown that sexual assaults such as rape are mostly common in Oshodi, Ikeja, Agege and Ketu areas of Lagos.
Managing partner of the group, Itoro Eze-Anaba, said this in Lagos on Monday during the opening of the Marabel Centre – a sexual assault and referral centre – located at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
She said the purpose of establishing the centre was to provide assistance for rape victims without divulging their secret.
She said, “From July to November 25, the centre has offered free services to 124 victims who have been raped or sexually assaulted in Lagos State. Our statistics show that majority of the survivors of rape are children between the ages of 11-15.
“Children are more at risk of sexual assault in Oshodi/Mafoluku, Ikeja, Agege/Oko Oba, Mile 12/Ketu areas. The Mirabel Centre offers medical examination and treatment for illness and injuries caused by sexual assault. We counsel to help cope with emotional and psychological effects of rape and help in reporting the incident to the police.”
Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof Wale Oke, added that the centre would increase access to Lagosians, whom, he said, suffer more from sexual assaults.
He said, “Victims of rape or sexual assault may feel ashamed, angry, guilty, distressful and anxious. There may be a disbelief of what has happened to them, and hence they need to get back to their normal lives as quickly as possible.
“Whatever they feel is normal; they need back their lives and must be committed to restoring it. Women in Lagos have always been at the forefront of the liberation struggle, and we owe an immense debt of gratitude to women for the instrumental role they play in the polity.”
Chairman, Advisory Council, National Human Right Commission, Abuja, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, emphasised that those found guilty of sexual assaults should be punished.
“We must stop being silent and stop negotiating certain boundaries in the name of family name or friendship. Defaulters of sexual assaults should be severely punished because we have to stop exposing our children and women to risk of rape and other sexual assaults,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Felix Ogundeji, urged Lagosians not to hesitate to report rape cases to the police before evidences became vague.
“There is no police station that you will report sexual assaults case to that won’t help you. All you need to do is to ensure that you contact them early so the evidences can be easily proven and justice can be well ascertained. You should know that good evidences are required to excel in a criminal case,” he added.