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NHRC decries sexual, human rights abuses in Ebonyi

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By Ruth Oginyi

The National Human Rights Commission in Ebonyi State has decried the increasing spate of human rights abuses in the state, disclosing that the state recorded 57 human rights abuses, with sexual violence topping the list.

The NHRC State Coordinator, Mr Christopher Onyekachi Okorie who made the disclosure while fielding questions with journalists in Abakaliki on Tuesday, also noted that a policeman in the state has been dismissed from service after orderly room trial for allegedly defiling a 14-year-old girl in the state.

Okorie further noted that the commission was working hard to ensure that the policeman who is in his 30s was prosecuted and commended the state police command for not shielding him.

He lamented that defilement of minors and other sexual violence were on the increase in the state and very under-reported and urged the people to speak when they are sexually abused.

According to him, the commission is working hard to protect the rights of the people from abusers.“One police officer has been sacked after undergoing orderly room trial and we are also moving for his court trial but he has gone through police orderly room trial; police internal disciplinary action which led to his dismissal. We are now moving for his trial in the court. He was accused of defiling a minor, the child is about 14 years while the policeman is in his early 30s.

“We are grateful to the state Commissioner of Police who has been very helpful to us. He understands what humanity is all about. Once a petition from the National Human Rights Commission is sent to him, the following morning, we will get a call that it has been assigned. He usually tells us to deal with him directly, that he doesn’t want the image of the police to be dented.

“So, he has helped us in so many ways.  In 2019, we handled 45 cases, and 12 cases in this 2020. Four of the 2019 cases had to do with gender-based sexual violence and these are all minors. Pitiably, a man molested a three-year-old-girl and the issue of violating minors is on the increase but under-reported. The only time the cases are reported is when there is underlining conflict among the families involved.

“Domestic violence is on the increase even though under-reported. Under-reporting is the problem we are having on this issue of domestic violence. If you see the culture of Igbo land, the culture changes because of the influence of external cultures too.

“What happens here is that most families are not literate, most of our cultures have not been given the necessary push or change it deserves to really give us the good result that we need. In that aspect, there is a low percentage of reporting cases of violence because of the culture. It is actually considered normal for a woman to be beaten by her husband. When it is so, a woman is indoctrinated to believe it that way.

“Women should know that they are human beings and being a human being, nobody has a right to infringe upon your own rights because the person’s rights starts where your own starts. Marriage does not reduce your personal rights. So, the person you are marrying to should respect your rights”.

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