*NLC, ILAW Vows Justice For Victim
A 44-year-old man, Nasiru Umaru may likely face a life imprisonment, if found guilty of raping a minor at Mile 12 Market, Ketu Lagos.
The suspect who has since been remanded at the Kiri Kiri maximum prison on the order of a Magistrate Court sitting in the Ikeja Magisterial District, is accused of defiling a 16-year-old girl (name withheld on September 2, 2021.
Legal experts say under the various Nigerian laws with provisions on rape, the penalty for rape is life imprisonment.
The one count charge brought against the offender, stated that, “you NASIRU UMARU “M” 44YRS on the 2nd day of September, 2021 at LB Alaba, Mile 12 Market, Ketu Lagos in the Ikeja Magisterial District did defile one Aishyatu H’(pseudonym) “F” Age l6yrs by using your penis to penetrate inside her virginal and forcefully having carnal knowledge of her and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 137 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) together with its partner Solidarity Center AFL-CIO and a network of legal practitioners known as International Lawyers Assisting Workers-Network (ILAW) have vowed to obtain justice for the victim.
The NLC with support from the Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO has been championing a workplace – based campaign to end Gender Based Violence and Harassment within the second largest perishable foods market in Lagos.
Speaking to journalists, ILAW member and attorney holding brief over the matter; Barrister Onyeisi Chiemeke mentioned that the facts available to them indicates that the suspect had carnal knowledge of the minor; a crime which carries a life sentence upon conviction.
He vowed that the ILAW network Nigeria will ensure that justice prevails.
He also urged the federal government to put in place structures that allow seamless prosecution of perpetrators of such heinous crimes.
According to him, ‘survivors of GBVH suffer multiple times in trying to get justice from the system as they are often placed with the burden of providing financial resources for law enforcement agents to carry out investigation where they manage they file a report.
“When such survivors are unable to fund investigations, the cases are often abandoned and the perpetrators walk free to continue with the crime.”
He highlighted how Mile 12 International Market leadership’s monitoring of the case also helped to ensure that suspect was charged to court and eventually remanded in prison pending the advice of the Lagos State Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) on the trial.
In her reaction, the Lagos State Chairperson of the NLC, Comrade Agnes Sessi expressed regret that the Federal Government is foot dragging on its commitment to ratify the ILO Convention 190.
She stated the astronomical rate of GBVH violations in Nigeria’s world of work has necessitated the need to speed up ILO Convention 190 ratification process in order to ensure that the menace is mitigated.
Reacting on ongoing trial involving the defilement of a minor in Mile 12 International Market, Ketu she said, “We are going to follow up this matter at the court. We will ensure that justice is served so that by the time more perpetrators are put behind bars, offenders will know that women and girls have a right to their bodies and a right to feel protected while at work.
She appealed to the President and state governors to do more on GBVH which is a human rights issue as nobody should be harassed while working or trying to make a living based on their gender or sex.”
She mentioned that the GBVH campaign in Mile 12 International Market, Ketu is changing the face of the market as women workers in the informal economy now feel safer doing business within the market.
In her reaction, the Iyaloja of the Mile12 International market, Dupe Ojo hailed the arrest of Umaru, saying such will serve as deterrent to perpetrators of rape and other GBVH in and around the market community.
She commended the training received from the Solidarity Centre AFL – CIO and NLC, saying that it has raised a lot of awareness around root causes, impact and effective ways to prevent and protect all vulnerable persons from gender based violence and harassment within the market community.
According to her, “The women in the market were happy to hear of the news of arrest, investigation of this crime. We have been sensitizing them on the need to speak out about such violations and break the silence holding them down. We know that with this result, workers will grow more confident to report such violations to help us kick GBVH out of Mile 12 Market for good.”