Nigeria Declares ‘State of Emergency’ On Rape And Sexual Assault

In June, Nigeria declared a state of emergency on rape and sexual violence in all 36 Nigerian states.

Earlier that month, activists from women-led groups marched and sent a memo to Nigeria’s House of Representatives, demanding Nigeria adopt and properly implement the 2015 Violence Against Prohibition Person’s Act (VAPP).

This was triggered by brutal rape cases reported in May and June: Barakat Bello was raped and killed in her home; Vera Uwa Omozuwa was killed in her church in Benin City, southern Nigeria; and a 12-year-old girl was raped by 11 men in Jigawa, northern Nigeria.

Despite this new state of emergency, a culture of rape and impunity persists, making it difficult for victims to hold their abusers accountable. One in four girls and women will experience rape and/or sexual assault in Nigeria before the age of 18, according to the United Nations. However, there are fewer than 80 total recorded rape convictions in Nigeria.

VAPP ensures that victims of rape and sexual assault have the right to physical and psychological examinations. Perpetrators found guilty of a sexually motivated crime could face between 14 years and life imprisonment.

So far, only 17 of Nigeria’s 36 states have adopted VAPP into state laws.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo tweeted:

A high-profile rape case

The most recent high-profile rape case involving popular Nigerian musician D’banj is a chilling reminder that despite the state of emergency, a culture of rape persists.

On June 3, a woman named Seyitan Babatayo alleged in a since-deleted Twitter thread that artist Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, known as D’Banj, entered her hotel room and raped her.

Seyitan says she decided to go public with her story because she wanted to call out D’banj out on his hypocrisy after he declared solidarity with the #NoMeansNo campaign.

 

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