Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Hajia Aisha Ummi El-Rufai, has appealed to traditional, religious and other community leaders to expose rapists and to stop giving protection to them at the detriment of the rape victims.
She said, the unGodly practice of sweeping rape cases under the carpet, on the mere excuse of protecting the dignity of the victims must stop.
Mrs El-Rufai made the appeal on Friday when she took her campaign against rape and other gender based violence to Turukun, the headquarters of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
She said, cases of rape, especially of minors has assumed an alarming rate in Kaduna state, and the crime had continued because the perpetrators have been enjoying protection of community leaders.
Addressing the community leaders, including traditional, religious and , “We are here in continuation of our campaign against rape, to meet you the community leaders, traditional, religious leaders, social mobilizers, youth and community influencers, to help us in this fight.
“We are here to put a structure in place through which report can be made of rape cases. We also want you to help in fighting the menace within the community by being the police of your communities. We are not encouraging you to beat up suspected rapist, but help arrest such persons and reach out to the authorities.
“We also want you to help us stop the victimization of the victims of rape. It is the perpetrators of the crime that deserve to be shamed not protected.
“We have often heard of instances where community leaders themselves are the ones protecting the rapists. We are here to tell you to stop that, because if we continue to pardon the rapists just because they are our neighbors, families or even because we want to protect the dignity of the victim, so that the victim would get somebody to marry them in future, then the rapists will not stop, they will always look for the next victims after being pardoned,” she said.
The Governor’s wife also used the occasion to address children and educated them on the tricks to identify a potential rapist and how to raise alarm if any comes close to them.
A member of her entourage and Team Lead, Kaduna State Active Squad Against Gender Based Violence, Professor Hauwau Evelyn Yusuf, said any leaders protecting rapists under whatever guise, is as good as the rapists themselves in the eye of the law.
Responding on behalf of the community leaders, the Village Head of Turukun Sabuwa, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman expressed appreciation to Mrs El-Rufai for making his community as the first point of call in the campaign to end rape.
He pointed out that, Turukun being the home of the famous Queen Amina will lead the fight rape and other gender based violence.