Centre records 121 rape cases, secures four convictions in Akwa Ibom

Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Eket, Akwa Ibom, has recorded 121 rape cases and secured the conviction of four persons since its inception one year ago, according to an official.
The Secretary of the Centre, Mfonkan Henry, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Eket.
She said that of the 121 rape cases, two of the victims were HIV Positive, adding that psychologists at the centre had been counselling the victims.
According to her, plans are ongoing to establish two additional centres in Uyo and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts.
She noted that there were more cases of sexual assault in three local government areas of Eket, Nsit Ubium and Onna but that parents of the victims refused to go to court.
She said: “So far, some parents of the victims do not want to appear in court, thereby slowing down the number of convictions.
“The increase in sexual assault is due to exposure to activities such as hawking, night parties as well as abuse by armed robbers, among others.”
Also speaking, Dr Umanah Peter, a Medical Officer, said that the centre was established due to the high rate of sexual assault in the state.
He said: “The impact of sexual violence on the victims is very high, which is one of the reasons the why centre was established.”
Peter said that the centre had been conducting crime awareness sensitisation in churches, schools and markets since its establishment.
He said: “When we started the centre, we used to have 10 to 15 rape cases in a week but the number has reduced to three to four cases.
“Then, people were not aware; there was no deterrent, no prosecution, people just commit the crime and get away with it, but since the awareness, things are different now.
“If the victims see that there is judgment against whoever assaulted them, the burden of stigmatisation will be off their heads.”
According to him, the centre treats sexual assault patients free of charge.