International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), has called on Kaduna state government to change the punishment for rape and defilement from 14 years to the death penalty by hanging.
Mrs. Zainab Atoba, President, FIDA, Kaduna branch, made the call on Monday in Kaduna during a courtesy visit to Alhaji Aminu Shagali, the Speaker Kaduna State House of Assembly.
She said this had become imperative because the rate of violence against women and children in the society was getting out of hand.
Atoba said the daily report of violence which includes sexual assault, battery, rape, defilement, trafficking, forced marriage, abuse and host of other vices against women and children must be tamed.
She said one in every three women had suffered some form of gender-based violence in her lifetime.
According to her, the statistics translates to a staggering one billion women globally who have been abused, beaten or sexually violated because of their gender.
Atoba said it was so unfortunate that gender-based violence continued to be a global epidemic with dire consequences for women, their families and communities.
She said it usually led to negative mental and physical health consequences for women and limited their decision-making ability and mobility, thereby reducing productivity and earnings.
The FIDA President noted that the time had come to ensure that women were capable of fully enjoying their rights and achieving their full potential.
“Legal protection from violence is crucial but it must be backed up with sensitisation,’’ she stated.
Atoba said lack of awareness in different local languages of such an issue had led to poor awareness about women’s rights among the general public and refusal of the government to consider such issue.
She, therefore, suggested implementing a project on sensitising the women and children in the remote areas by creating sustainable public awareness and translating some of the laws into the local languages in the state.
“We must all realise that laws alone are not sufficient, rather concerted action is needed to end violence against women and girls.
Atoba said the move was within the mandate of FIDA, as its primary objective “is the promotion, protection and preservation of the rights of women and children which also include their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
Responding, Alhaji Shagali, Speaker Kaduna State House of Assembly also advocated capital punishment for anyone convicted of rape and other forms of violence.
He said this had become imperative following the outrage on rape, kidnapping, armed robbery and violence against women which had become major crimes now in the country.