Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Imo State, Revd. Eches Divine Eches has called on the federal government to develop a road map to address the menace of rape and all forms of violence across the country.
This is even as the religious body distributed foodstuffs donated by Governor Hope Uzodinma to the different blocks of the church.
Eches made the disclosure while hosting the officials of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, in the state to address increasing number of rape and gender based violence across the country.
The cleric said the road map should include the judiciary, lawyers, police, legislators, religious leaders, governors, traditional rulers, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders who would drive the campaign to the grassroots.
He expressed concerns over the rising number of rape cases across the country, even as he called for a database of rapists, which he said would be circulated to churches, and offenders blacklisted.
Eches disclosed that the church in the state would soon commence teachings on the dangers of rape and gender based violence, to educate members on the need to respect other people’s rights, and shun abuse.
Further, the cleric advocated a support system for victims wherein they are rehabilitated, so they can be reintegrated into the society, noting that rape victims develop trust and fear issues.
According to him, victims of rape are members of the church while some are muslims.
He said everyone should speak out against it and help protect others from violators.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, called on religious leaders to speak out against rape as well as other harmful practices against women and girls.
Represented by the Imo State Director of NHRC, Mrs Ukachi Ukah, the NHRC boss called on the police and other first responders to be more sensitive to the need of rape victims, to avoid aggravating their trauma and fears.
The NHRC officials had carried various placards with different inscriptions advocating the stop of all forms of violence against anyone, children inclusive.
On the distribution of palliatives, the CAN chairman said the items were donated by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State to help cushion the effects of the outbreak of Covid 19 in the state.
According to him, over 90 per cent of Imo population is Christians, adding that the foodstuffs were distributed via the different Church leadership.
CAN has five blocks which comprises the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN; Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN; Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, CPFN/ Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN; Organisation of African Instituted Churches, OAIC; and TEKAN and ECWA fellowships.
The CAN chairman also donated food items to members of the Christian Youth Corpers in the state.
The foodstuffs comprised of rice, beans, noodles, and palm oil.