The Akwa Ibom State Police Command has declared that it will no longer be business as usual for perpetrators of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the state.
The state commissioner for police, Mr. Andrew Amiengheme,read the riot act on Wednesday in his office while receiving the State Gender Based Violence Management Committee led by the wife of governor, Dr Martha Udom Emmanuel at the Force Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo.
The police chief who had all his senior officers in attendance, ordered that henceforth all cases of rape and violence against women in the command should not be treated with kid gloves, stating that the perpetrators of the crime must be dealt decisively with within the ambits of the law.
Amienghime while thanking the governor’s wife and her committee for its vociferous campaign and advocacy against all forms of gender-based violence in the state, assured that the police would not renege on its mandate of arresting and prosecuting offenders of the heinous crime.
He added that henceforth, police would no longer accept any out-of-court settlement, insisting that all matters regarding the sexual and gender based violence must be resolved in the court of law for justice to prevail.
Earlier in her remark, the wife of the governor, Dr Martha Udom Emmanuel, who also doubles as the chairperson of the State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, said they were at the force headquarters to brainstorm and chart on the way forward to curb the crime in the state.
She noted that while many achievements have been recorded since the committee was inaugurated by the governor a while ago, more grounds still needed to be covered as cases seem to be on the rise.
“Since this committee was inaugurated few months ago by the governor, we have recorded huge success but it appears the more we talk and condemn it, the more evil people are committing the crime. We are here today as a committee to seek your support and cooperation in tackling this menace headlong in our society”, said the First Lady.
Emmanuel while reading out the terms of reference of the committee for the police boss, said they were against money exchanging hands whenever arrest is made, granting of bail to any culprit, and demanding money from victims of rape for prosecution, pleading that all cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence must be handled by the family Unit of the Force headquarters.
She presented copies of the recently passed VAPP law to the police boss, pleading that it be sent to all the DPOs to aide in the dispensation of justice to all victims of rape.
There was also an interactive session where questions were raised by members of the committee and answers given by the police boss.