A coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) on Wednesday called for stiffer penalties against child molesters saying such will serve as deterrent towards curbing the menace in the society.
The group who described the situation as worrisome, called for a review of the girl-child rights law in the state as it relates to punishment of offenders and the time frame in which the offender is prosecuted as well as the civil remedy available for the abused.
While underscoring the severity of the issue, Pharmacist Aisha Olufade Ahmed of the University of Ilorin disclosed that one in every four young girls in the state are subjected to sexual molestation before the age of 18.
She therefore called on parents to be more vigilant and not cover up when their child is molested.
In her words, “In a situation whereby your daughters cannot walk freely without fear that one uncle somewhere or one neighbour somewhere would want to touch them wrongly is sad.
“Sexual molestation can range from physical touching all the way to penetration and the effect can last from physical injury all the way to neurological disorder in the future. Some of these children may become suicidal.”
For this she frowned at parents who out of fear of the stigma try to cover up acts of molestation.
Also, the director, Legal Unit of one of the NGOs, Grand Charity Youth Development, Ibrahim Shuaib, disclosed that the NGO has been undaunted with petitions relating to abuse of the girl-child.
“A six-year-old girl was molested by her neighbour, while in another place a seven-year-old girl was molested by her class teacher. Surprisingly, however, the school authority under whose care the girl was put, connived with the NSCDC, Kwara State Command to arrest and detain the father of the seven-year-old girl under the allegation that the father threatened to get the school closed down by the authorities.
“As if that was not enough, barely 72 hours after the release of the said father from the custody of the NSCDC, the proprietor of the school filed a direct criminal complaint against the father at the Upper Area Court, Ilorin on the frivolous allegations of threat to life and defamation. This is a serious case of perversion of justice,” he said.
He assured that the NGO was ready to handle such cases Pro Bono and advised affected parents who may not have the wherewithal to prosecute such cases against the offenders to come forward.
News Hub Mag! reports that the coalition also advocated for speedy dispensation of justice in the cases sexual molestation against the girl-child stressing that that would go a long way in discouraging other would-be offenders.