By Stanley Onyekwere
The Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has revealed that concerted steps are underway to ensure that investigated suspected rape cases are no longer bailable in the country, to serve as a deterrent to culprits.
The Minister, who made this revelation during the official presentation of a compendium titled “My COVID-19 Story; Voice Of Hope and Resilience”, which chronicled different experiences of young girls during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, also stressed the need to protect the dignity of the girl child.
Aliyu, who was represented by the Deputy Director Administration in the office of FCT Minister of State, Mrs. Maria Ogbonnaya-Ngwu, said the FCT Administration has established a centre to address cases of girls who are abused or suppressed.
In her words; “It is also gratifying to know that our dear President, Muhammadu Buhari, in him lies a man that believes in the worth of the girl child. We have been able to present to him various cases of gender based violence in the Federal Executive Council.
“Let me assure you that laws will soon be rolled out, to serve as deterrent to culprits that are guilty or people found culpable of abuses of the girl child. Unlike before, the rape case becomes ‘bailable’ now we are working towards that it would no longer be a bailable offence.
“In the Federal Capital Territory, we have been able to give succour to the Girl-child, we have been able to encourage the Girl-child, we have been able to make them believe in themselves.
“The Girl-child is not subordinate to any other child. The administration will continue to boost this, and continue to preach this experience and embark on advocacy”.
While commending Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Abuja for taking the initiative in bringing young girls together to pen down their own experiences during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, she also expressed the confidence that 25 years of post Bejing conference, the girl child is waxing stronger.
In her remarks, the founder and President of Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, noted that the unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has re-defined global health and lifestyle, stressing that governments across the world have had to adopt concrete measures to stop the spread of the virus and reduce the negative impact on the socio-economic life of their citizens.
Ahmadu, further noted that the virus has dymistified technologies of the advanced countries including developing nations, noting that if there anything the virus has thought humans, it is the supremacy of God.
She, however, assured that Helpline Foundation for the Needy would continue to champion the rights of the girl child despite challenges posed by the outbreak of the virus.