By Muhammad Nasir Bashir
Jigawa state will establish additional Sexual Assault Referral Centres in the three senatorial districts to serve as an avenue where evidence could be established against rapists.
They are to be established by the State Justice Sector and Law Reform Commission (SARC), the Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Lawan Buba, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse on Monday.
Buba said a pilot centre was established in 2016 in collaboration with Department for International Development (DFID), under its Justice for All (J4A) programme.
He explained that SARC was also established in 2016 at the General Hospital Dutse in Dutse Local Government Area of the state.
“The DFID provided the centre with equipment, furniture, computers and all the necessary things needed to run the centre,” he said.
He it was established to provide counseling services to victims of rape in the state by members of staff of the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
“Members of staff of the Ministry of Women Affairs counsel the victims and advise them on the importance of coming back to the centre for tests and follow ups,” Buba said.
Buba explained that it would also serve as an avenue where evidence could be established against rapists.
“As you know, rape is on the alarming rate not only in Jigawa, Nigeria but also globally and in most cases, it very difficult to prove such cases in court.
“So, parents of rape victims should not wash the genital part of their children until they report such incident to the police in their respective communities.
“We always tell parents of rape victims that the first point of report should be to the Police.
“This is because the Police are the institution responsible for taking up and processing justice on behalf of such victims by arresting, investigating and taking the perpetrator to court for trial.
“It will enable health workers to confirm the truth or otherwise of the situation when Police take the victim to the hospital or health centre,’’ he said.
The secretary said that at the centre a medical doctor would examine the victim and give a report which would be used against the rapist.
“Therefore all parents or guardians of such victims should desist from keeping the matter quiet.
“Most parents keep mute thinking that they are protecting the rape victims from stigmatisation,” Buba said.
He promised that the commission would continue to sensitise the public, through the use of stickers, jingles and other materials for them to open up and report rape cases to the Police for appropriate action.
The executive secretary, who said that the centre had so far treated 36 cases of rape, advised parents to protect their children by always monitoring their movement. (NAN)