The Catholic Caritas foundation of Nigeria has condemned in strong terms the recent rape and exploitation of the late Aisha Umar by a non governmental organization NGO staff in Maiduguri.
Stressing it’s disdain on what he described as an act of wickedness in a news conference in Maiduguri on Tuesday, the Executive Secretary of Caritas, Rev father Uchechukwu Obodoechina represented by Rev father Peter Audu stressed that the conduct of rape was a sickening betrayal of the trust of the people the accused swore to serve.
” It is also a betrayal of our colleagues who put themselves in harms way to serve others including those who have paid the ultimate price and those killed by insurgents in the north east region of Nigeria while rendering humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced IDPs and vulnerable people”
Audu called for a thorough investigation of the incident adding that ” it is our top priority to ensure that the perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation are not excused or condoned but held to full account under the law.
He appealed to all humanitarian organizations to put in place adequate mechanism to guard against the perpetration of sexual exploitation and abuse by their employees and agents beginning from it’s recruitment process to on-boarding and service delivery.
” I appeal to all humanitarian and development organizations in Nigeria, not to be negligent in the management of, nor treat with levity reports of sexual exploitation and abuse.
“this would be tantamount to professional misconduct on the part of the top management of such organizations. We must have zero tolerance for inaction against it” he posited.
Also speaking to journalists Audu went on ” we do not want this case to be swept under the carpet. Our aim is to see that at the end of the day, justice is served to the family of the late minor that died.
” If the state is overwhelmed with rape cases, the only way to go about reducing it is to make the laws stiffer like the Asians have done to stem impunity.
“First the late victim must have been a resident IDP and that makes the crime more grevious.
“If Borno and Nigeria had made its law stiffer, the prevalence of rape would have been going down by now.
” Government has to be more proactive about this law. If you make a law that is not working, the people will not get redress against such laws. At the end of the day don’t be surprised that selective Justice may be applied.” He stressed.
The man of God said that rape was a criminal act adding that the people of Borno must come together as one body against the wrong acts of rape that has been perpetrated.
” Women should not be afraid to walk the streets of the town because of the possibility of being raped.”
Caritas is a Catholic agency with about 160 branches worldwide with head quarters in Rome focusing mainly on development and humanitarian services.
Meanwhile the Commissioner of Police Borno state Abdu Umar have vowed to get to the bottom of the matter until justice is served.
He has since arrested and paraded the suspected rapist who is an NGO staff in Maiduguri.