A Stakeholders Committee on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Bauchi had on Saturday urged parents and caregivers not compromise rape case in the state.
Hajiya Fatima Abubakar, Chairperson of the Committee made the call at the Stakeholders capacity building session organised by Attah Sisters Helping Hands (ASHH) foundation in Bauchi.
She said that punishment of a rape convict cannot be reduced or condoned, even if the victim forgave the accused and entered into a compromise with him.
“Rape is a non-compoundable offence and it is an offence against the society and is not a matter to be left for the parties to compromise and settle.
“This is so since the court cannot always be assured that the consent given by the victim in compromising the case is a genuine consent.
“There is every chance that she might have been pressured by the convicts or the trauma undergone by her all the years might have compelled her to opt for a compromise,” she said.
Abubakar explained that such compromises should not be allowed by the parents, caregivers, society and government.
“Compromises of such cases are illegal and the provision for a lesser punishment for heinous offences in exceptional cases cannot be treated in a casual or a cavalier manner by the trial court,” she said.
Also speaking, Aliyu Idris, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Justice, said parents and relatives have the responsibility to tackle the monster of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
He expressed concern over the increasing tendency amongst trial courts to permit compromises on the ground that a settlement has been reached between the rapist and the victim.
The permanent secretary urged the committee to embark on a serious enlightenment campaign that would educate the society on the dangers of compromising rape cases.
On her part, Mrs Comfort Attah, the Executive Director, ASHH foundation, said violence against women and girls was a widespread and serious violation of human rights, which had severe physical, psychological, emotional and social consequences.
Attah, however, pointed out that the process of bringing a complaint into the criminal justice system can be a difficult and traumatizing experience for many victims for different reasons.
“Many victims never report their victimisation or they have been filtered out of the criminal justice system, resulting in low charge and conviction rates.
“To champion, the public enlightenment crusade, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media occupy a major role in this respect,” she said.
She stressed the need for the committee to join forces with the CSOs to heighten public enlightenment in the fight against rape and sexual violence in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the one-day capacity building for stakeholders was to bridge the impunity gap and mitigate against SGBV cases in Bauchi, as supported by Canada and ActionAid. (NAN)