Tuesday, May 6, 2014 12:07 pm
TheNEWS investigation revealed that in Sabon Gari, a free community in the state, a number of married men habitually have canal knowledge of their housegirls. A hapless housegirl who lives at Freetown Street, Sabon Gari, told the magazine that her master has severally subjected her to forceful sexual intercourse. “Whenever my Madam is out, he will order me to have sex with him. I was a virgin when I came to their house but he has taken away my virginity; and he warned me never to tell anybody.”
News abound of women and girls raped in the early hours of the morning in Kano. They are petty traders who go to buy bread or people coming home after over-night church activities. In the early hours of 19 April, an 18-year-old girl was deflowered by a gang of rapists at Burma Road on her way home from a church vigil. She was trekking home with three other girls who were lucky to escape.
Kano State government, the Nigerian Bar Association and the state Police Command have continued to express concern over the unabating spate of rape in the ancient city. Just last month, the state chapter of NBA organised a protest march to show their displeasure over the increasing wave of rape in Kano. Hundreds of lawyers stormed the streets of Kano with different inscriptions on placards condemning rape as well as urging parents and guardians to be wary of the movement of their kids.
In an interview with this magazine, the state Commissioner for Justice, Maliki Kuliya Umar, revealed that even the Almajiri have been victims of rape. Homosexuals, too, have severally taken advantage of wandering children, luring them for rape with as low as N20. This trend was part of why Engr. Rabi’u Kwankwaso’s administration banned the wandering of Almajiri on Kano streets. While some of them have been deported, the rest whose roots have been traced to Kano have been taken to designated centres where they stay with Islamic teachers and learn the doctrines of Islam.
Another step taken by the state government to stem the spate of rape is the prohibition of employing housegirls in the state. Already, the Kano State House of Assembly has passed the bill and it is awaiting the governor’s signature. With this law, the employment or recruitment of housegirls in Kano will become a crime against the state. Speaking further on the spate of rape, Kuliya regretted that due to fear of stigmatisation of the victims, most of who are very young, the parents were not eager to report cases of rape to the appropriate authorities.
According to him, as at December last year, 148 cases of rape were pending and over 60 rapists convicted. “And we are still counting. This is healthy because when the offenders are apprehended and diligently prosecuted, we hope to see reduction. And as a responsible government, it is our desire to ensure the welfare of the people, particularly, our children.”
He further noted that the bill against the employment of housegirls was considered by the state executive council and sent to the state assembly for consideration and it has been passed into law. “Which means bringing these young girls into cities to work as househelp in various homes is now prohibited. You are aware that these girls are exposed to rape because when they come in they are left at home; maybe, along with other domestic servants, drivers. Some of them are really victims of rape. Even the husbands sometimes rape these hapless girls.”
Also speaking to the magazine, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adenrele Tasheed Shinaba, described rape as the major crime in Kano. “I must tell you that we have less of robbery… what we have these days are cases of rape and other local crimes; but they are not things that are beyond our control. I and my management team have mapped out strategies on how to tackle these crimes and it is working for us. As for rape, we keep on sensitising members of the public, especially parents, on how best to monitor and handle their children; and not entrusting their children into the care of people they don’t even know.
“Their children go to school. They need to go and be picking the children from school by themselves, instead of sending people, because anybody can hinge on that pretence and pick a child for criminal motives. We keep on sensitising them for them to know what to do to safeguard their children. Having done this, we also make sure that anybody caught on the issue of rape is adequately prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.”