By: Achiane Adams, CRS-MOI Officer reporting from Calabar

The Cross River State Chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), has called on  governments at all levels to pass stringent laws that will help curb the current incessant and inhumane act of sexual abuse in the country, as the Association and her affiliates, Pink Africa Foundation and Youth Alliance, embarked on a peaceful march against the menace in the State's capital, Calabar.

Leading Women,all dressed in black, carring placards and chanting "No means No", the Chairman, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, Cross River State, Comrade Umo Bassey-Edet, said victims should be encouraged to speak out in order to be helped as silence is not the solution.

Comrade Bassey-Edet while appealing painfully to the Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams, at the premises of the Cross River State House of Assembly, advocating for justice for rape victims, decried the weak and slow pace at which the law catches up with offenders as this and fear of victimization are one of the reasons why victims do not report sexual abuse cases.

Comrade Edet said " a bill carrying stringent penalties against offenders should be passed into law and  domesticated in the State. A lot of times, due to some sort of unconstitutional immunity, perpetrators walk free while the victims become shadows of themselves and find intergration back into society, very difficult. Perpetrators do not deserve to live among human beings" the NAWOJ Chairman declared.

On his part, the Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams, expressed heartfelt pain at the unfortunate situation, stressing that people with conscience will not commit rape crimes.

Rt. Hon. Williiams assured NAWOJ that in two months, the House will come up with a law on rape where the Association will be invited to be part of the Public Hearing to enable NAWOJ and other bodies make relevant  imputs to the bill before its eventual passage.

The Speaker, also praised NAWOJ for giving the voiceless a voice and encouraged them not to relent in the fight against man inhumanity to each other.

The march was also supported by the State Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Cross River State Chapter, Ntunkae Offiong Ani Offiong, Director General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, amongst other dignitaries that graced march.

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