By Tom Garba
As crimes against women and girls increases in Adamawa and other north eastern states, the Chief Medical Director of Specialist hospital Yola, Dr. Bala Saidu said, there is a need to launch concerted efforts.
The major crimes against women in recent times include rape, kidnap, abduction, torture, molestation, sexual harassment, trafficking among others.
‘’ At Yola, specialist hospital only ,we do record at least two cases of rape in a week and crimes against women are on the increase in this part of the country,’’ said he.
Speaking during the commissioning of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Tagged " (Adamawa Hope Centre)", in Yola on Tuesday, the Medical Director noted with concern that crimes against women have increased in the recent point in the state which portrays a sorry state of affairs for the weaker gender despite regulations getting stricter".
‘’ It’s so disheartening that culprits are left unpunished and unfortunately poorer sections of society and minors as prime targets of rape, all hands must be on deck to fight it, we are all stakeholders,’’ Dr Saidu urges.
While commissioning the centre, the wife of Adamawa State Governor, Mrs Maryam Umaru Jibrilla decried the ever increasing incidences of rapes in the society especially among teenagers. She advised parents to be extra careful in taking care of their female children as according to her, ‘’female children have become more vulnerable and exposed to sexual assault.’’
Also speaking, Professor Mohammed Tabiu, the National Programme Manager of the Managing Conflicts in Nigeria (MCN) said one of the areas of the programme intervention in the support efforts is to address the rising incidence of sexual and gender based violence in target States.
In his words, ‘’ Adamawa Hope Centre is expected to address the huge gap in support services for victims of sexual assault by providing free and immediate emergency medical treatment, trauma counseling as well as legal advice where necessary.
‘’ The Programme is also to enhance state and community level conflict management capacity into violence in the targeted states through free -inter-related areas of work.
‘’ MCN Programme is partnering with the Adamawa State ministries of Health, Justice and Women Affairs to provide care for the survivors and help them cope with the trauma,’’ he said.
Professor Tabiu further explained that the operations of the centre will not only be based on a victim-focused and non judgemental approached which is critical for recovery of survivors but also to provide forensic medication examination service by trained doctors and nurses.
In his remarks, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, BSD. Sanga said the programme is a one step facility to deal with all sexual abuses, adding that the conception started with the State Ministry of Justice but there was no collaboration for effective implementation.
BSD Sanga advocated for a maximum of 21 years and a maximum of life imprisonment for offenders of rapes cases to serve as deterrent to others.
Also speaking, Commissioner of Health, Dr Fatima Atiku said the programme has come at a right time when rape cases are becoming so rampant and promised to assist the Adamawa Hope Centre when called upon to do so.