Female federal lawmakers fought back tears on Thursday as they listened to the painful stories of rape victims who besieged the National Assembly to share their agonising experiences in the hands of rapists.
The victims, mostly young ladies, were at the legislative arm of government to sensitize members of the Senate and House of Representatives to the need to save them from further assault by passing the bill against sexual offences. The bill seeks life jail for rapists.
The ladies participated in the mock tribunal/court on sexual and gender based violence, organised by the National Assembly Women Affairs Committee and the Legislative Advocacy Coalition for Violence in Nigeria.
Most of them recalled with pains how they were sexually assaulted by older men while efforts made by them to seek redress legally had been frustrated due to weak laws against such a crime.
The victims, who spoke with their faces covered, passionately appealed to female lawmakers at the meeting to save other ladies, either of their ages or much younger than them.
Senators Chris Anyanwu and Oluremi Tinubu, who spoke at the occasion, condemned the criminal act, which they described as the wicked crime against the womenfolk.
They vowed to do everything within their powers to ensure that relevant bills that sought to protect women and children against violence were passed before the end of the current legislative year.
The Founding Director, Women Aid Collective, Dr. Joy Ezeilo, said the purpose of staging the mock tribunal /court at the National Assembly was to spotlight cases of gender-based violence in Nigeria.
Ezeilo also explained that the organisers also wanted to use the event to raise the voices of victims and survivors towards eliciting urgent action in enacting protective laws, especially the one that had made significant progress in both chambers of the National Assembly.