Some students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Tuesday took to the streets to protest incessant rape cases across Nigeria.
The students under the platform of "Concerned Great Ife Students" also used the opportunity to submit petitions to the Area Commander of Moore Area Command in Ile-Ife and the palace of Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
According to the students, the rising spate of sexual violence in Nigeria was becoming alarming especially because most cases of sexual violence are not properly investigated and prosecuted.
Convener of Movement, Dunsin Olowolafe, during the protest said the students believed strongly that previous cases of sexual violence that had been swept under the carpet due to influence of authorities was partly responsible for the rising spate of sexual violence in the country.
Olowolafe said, "As recently seen some days ago when a 100-level student of the University of Benin, Uwaila Omozuwa, was violently raped in a church where she had gone to read while sustaining serious complications that later led to her death, we strongly believe that the reason why her rapist-killers could have been brazen in committing such atrocity was because of their knowledge of the poor record of the Nigerian security agencies and authorities in responding to and unravelling atrocities of such degree.
“A typical recent example is that of Olabisi Olaleye, a lecturer in the Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, who was accused by students of sexual harassment.
"Till now, the only thing that has been heard is a claim of his suspension by the university authorities with promise to intimate the public about the final verdict of the disciplinary panel.
"On this note, we call on the Nigeria Police Force to immediately take a prompt action on the need to end rape culture in Nigeria and we also demand that the rapist-killers of Uwaila Omozuwa be immediately brought to book. In order, to serve as a deterrent to other rapists that are still lurking around and a template of justice for rape victims."
A female student, who took part in the protest, Shallom Rotimi, said she was happy that the march held despite threats by security operatives.
She said, "I want to say that I am glad youths took the initiative to embark on the protest. There is need for more sensitisation about rape, what constitutes rape and consent. The law as regards rape must be amended and enforced.
"It is sad that till date the ratio of conviction compared to report are not balanced. People need to understand that the only cause of rape is the rapists. There is no excuse. Let's stop victim shaming and ultimately take steps to put a stop to the menace."
Abass Oyeyemi, who spoke for Reaching Minds Foundation, condemned the late reaction of the Ministry of Women Affairs to rape cases and general matters affecting women and young girls in the country.
He said, "This can be seen in the case of Uwaila. There's a need for non-governmental organisations to start orientating young boys and men that rape is as grievous as murder. We call on other NGOs to join us in this fight against rape."
Moore Area Commander received a petition from the students on behalf of Osun State Commissioner of Police, Undie Adie.