By Abiodun OBA
Rape has been identified by the Police as a major challenge in Gombe state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Oqua Etim, who disclosed this in on Monday added that giving birth to children without plans to train and educate them is a crime.
Etim explained that the state Police Command, received not less than 43 rape cases between January and July adding that 37 of the reported cases have been charged to court while six were still under investigation.
The commissioner lamented that the cases received were quite worrisome in view of the fact that the victims included minors while in some cases perpetrators were sometimes family members.
Etim added that while arrests of perpetrators who were eventually charged to court had been intensified, concerted advocacy was being carried out to check the rising cases of sexual abuse in the state.
The police boss said the command is collaborating with critical stakeholders at the grassroots and intensifying advocacy to address the challenge.
According to him, the police had reached out to several critical stakeholders from religious, traditional and community leaders, schools among others to help in the fight against rape and other sexual abuses.
Etim expressed worry over the unwillingness of rape victims and their family members to report rape cases to the police.
He stressed that rape cases should not be covered but exposed for proper prosecution of perpetrators in the interest of the victims, the society and to serve as deterrent.
“We have had cases of people mounting influence on us claiming that they don’t want people to know and stigmatise them; but we always insist that a crime is a crime.
“I have vowed that under my watch, any parents whose child was abused but compromised would be charged to court under the appropriate laws.
“This is because I have heard that some parents asked for monetary compensation at the risk of the lives of these children,” he said.
Etim also berated some parents who allowed their children to be used as laborers on people’s farm and as hawkers.
According to him, parents have a responsibility to cater for their children by ensuring that they were not exposed to the risk of being sexually abused.