Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and some NGOs, on Saturday, embarked on a walk in the FCT to sensitise traders in markets and other residents on the need to end rape and other forms of violence against women and children.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the walk was carried out simultaneously in different parts of the territory as part of activities to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.
The walk took place in markets at Garki, Wuse, Nyanya, Karu, Utako, Jabi and others in the FCT.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the walk was part of activities to educate the public about the first national Sexual Offenders Register launched on Nov. 26.
The aim of the register is to establish database of people convicted for sexual violence in a move seen as an important step toward clamping down on abuse.
The “Sexual Offenders Register” will contain the names of all those prosecuted for sexual violence since 2015.
Tallen, who was represented during the walk by the Chief Information Officer in the ministry, Hajiya Amina Dimlong, said it was to address all forms of sexual abuses on vulnerable persons in the country.
She added that “we are using our various local dialects to inform traders and other FCT residents about the sexual offenders register and some of the preventive measures and where they can find assistance when faced with any form of abuse.
“This awareness is very important as we are standing up against rape.
“Many women are being molested in schools and places of work, we came out en masse today to tell people that rape is wrong.”
She explained that “parents should equally educate their male children, for them to understand that the girls are their sisters, mothers, friends and not to harm them.”
On her part, Dr Laraba Shoda, the National President, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), represented by the Reseach Coordinator, FCT Chapter, Ms Patricia Orukari, stressed the need for the public to stop all forms of stigmatisation against victims of sexual violence and abuse.
She said “this walk is to sensitise people on the need to end rape and violence against women and children. We want victims to speak out and we want people to support them instead of stigmatising them.”
Ms Esther Jonathan, member, Association of Women in Trade and Agricultural (AWITA), told NAN that the walk was part of activities to educate the puplic about necessary steps to ensure they got justice for any form of sexual abuse and molestation.
Also, MaryJane Igoche, a stylist at Karu market in Abuja, expressed joy for seeing the women and learning about the Sex Offenders Register as it was her first time of getting to know about it.
She said “it is a welcome development. I am just getting to hear this with the recent increase in rape, we thought government is doing nothing concerning the issue, but on hearing this, I am glad that offenders will not go scout free.”
NAN reports that various religious groups and NGOs participated in the walk and shared pamphlets to commuters containing messages to end violence and stigmatisation against women and children.