An advocacy group, Do Foundation has expressed concern over the rise in cases of abuse of children and violence against women in Bayelsa state.
The group noted that over seventy cases of child defilement and violence against women were recorded in 2019.
Do Foundation is a non-governmental organisation made up of seasoned lawyers and other professionals whose core objects are centred, but not limited to the advancement of justice, security, development and more particularly the protection of vulnerable persons in the society and render pro-bono service to vulnerable persons in the society.
The group said while thirty cases of child defilement were recorded with heartbreaking cases such as the involvement of teachers defiling school pupils and two arrested paedophile committing suicide to escape justice after arrests.
The president of Do Foundation, Dise Sheila Ogbise Erhisere, while speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa, said though the recorded cases of arrest and acts of paedophiles in our society is quite worrisome as the future, safety and development of our children is under serious threat, the foundation, in collaboration with 80 per cent of other sister NGOs and the Medical Women Association in the state has increased the advocacy against defilement of children, recorded arrests and prompt, free medical examination of victims of rape and defilement.”
Erhisere said, “In 2019, it wasn’t easy dealing with cases involving paedophiles, especially as it was about the abuse on children. We had over thirty cases or complaints that got to us, through parents of the victims, the victims themselves during our speak-up campaigns be and through individuals who wanted to remain anonymous. The cases were quite worrisome, painful and heartbreaking too.
“One of them was a man who used his hands/ fingers to open a child vagina. Another two incidents were cases of teachers who defiled their pupils. The greatest challenge in all of these incidents is the fact that even relatives of victims eventually withdraw from their complaint when the matter is at the top stage of investigation. We even had a case of a pastor who came to plead on behalf of a paedophile.
“A painful incident was that of an uncle who insisted the matter be settled immediately as the paedophiles family had pleaded to be pardoned. That was the end of the case as the victim was returned to her relatives. ( For a case of defilement to succeed, the victim is also a vital witness). This are just few I have just mentioned. “