Nigerian Police bungle 87 cases of sexual abuse against kids

Violence against children (UNICEF)

The Sexual Assault Center of Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, Zaria, on Wednesday lamented that the police bungled 87 out of 88 cases of sexual abuse against children handed over to them for prosecution.

The Manager of the Centre, Hajiya Amina Umar-Faruk, disclosed this on Wednesday, in Zaria during a sensitization workshop on the impact of Violence Against Children (VAC).

The workshop was organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Umar-Faruk explained that out of the 88 cases of sexual assault received and handled by the centre in nine months of its operation, only one rapist was convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

The centre was opened in February 2019.

She blamed this on the low support from the police in making sure perpetrators were convicted.

“Out of the 88 cases, 46 were male while 42 were female with only two cases of physical violence perpetrated by survivors’ relatives.

“Most of the cases received are sexual abuse on minors; either rape or sodomy,” she said.

Umar-Faruk however solicited the support of religious and traditional leaders in sensitizing the public on its efforts to support sexual assault victims.

She said that the centre had been doing a lot in terms of awareness creation, but needed the assistance of community leaders as they were closer to the people.

She said that the centre, popularly known as Salama Centre, provides psychosocial counselling, free medication and legal intervention to survivors of sexual abuse.

The manager noted that the centre was being supported by the state ministries of justice, health, human services and education.

Isah Ibrahim from Save the Children, stated that timely procurement and distribution of free drugs for victims was needed for the centre to be more effective.

He also urged the state government to recruit more manpower to manage the centre and enable it run 24-hour service.

“There is also the need for government to set up state child protection law 2018 implementation committee,” he said.

The state has four sexual assault centres located at Gwamna Awan Specialist Hospital and Yusuf Dantsoho Specialist Hospital in Kaduna, as well as the Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa memorial Hospital, Kafanchan and Gambo Sawaba Hospital, Zaria.