The National Human Rights Commission and Nigeria Police Force have agreed to strengthen collaboration in dealing with cases of rape and other sex and gender-based violence across the country.
During a visit to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Force Intelligence, Ibrahim Lamorde, Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, said it had become imperative for a collaboration to deal with all human rights cases.
He noted that there was an urgent need to build the capacity of human rights and gender desk officers in all police commands across the country to ensure professionalism and efficiency in dealing with numerous cases generally and rape/SGBV cases in particular.
Ojukwu observed that most survivors of rape were deflated in spirit on arrival to make complaints at police stations, attributing this to the unprofessional conduct in handling cases by police officers, who stigmatise victims through dismissive comments.
He said, “A crop of professional police officers dealing with human rights and SGBV can provide accurate data on such cases.
“Data is key in addressing these cases because it will help us to get a rundown of cases across the country by knowing how many cases we have at hand; how many are prosecuted and so on.”
Lamorde, who was appointed by the IGP to lead human rights reforms in the Force, advocated for a special court to ensure accelerated hearing of rape cases in the country.
He said stigmatisation of rape victims had been the problem preventing them from speaking up and police must understand the magnitude of the problem being created when survivors are discouraged.
He emphasised the need to check the threshold of dealing with rape cases which are usually delayed.