The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, in a resolution, urged Ministry of Justice not to consider bail or attend to plea bargaining proposals in gender-based violence against women and related cases.
The resolution was sequel to a motion raised by the Deputy Leader of the House, Barrister Aniefiok Dennis (Etinan), and Barrister Otobong Bob (Nsit Ubium) during Thursday plenary.
In his remark, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, urged members of the public including government agencies, religious leaders, traditional rulers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), women groups, security agencies, media, and other stakeholders to aggressively fight the barbaric and heinous crimes of rape and other gender-based violence.
He further appealed to law enforcement agencies, courts and relevant stakeholders in the state criminal justice system to consider sexual offences as “a first-line priority.”
Speaking during a press briefing, the Deputy Speaker, Princess Felicia Bassey (Okobo), hinted that modalities have been put in place to make the existing laws on violence against persons and others be strictly enforced, adding that perpetrators will henceforth face life imprisonment.
Princess Bassey challenged to live up to their responsibility, raise godly children and expose them to the right information on rape, which is on the rise in the society.
Also speaking during the briefing, the Chief Whip, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong (INI), urged the Executive to implement and ensure total enforcement of the law to aid clamp down on the culprits.
However, the House commended the efforts of the State Chapters of National Association of Women journalists (NAWOJ), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Family Empowerment and Youth Re-Orientation Path Initiative (FEYReP), and other organizations in the campaign against rape.
Meanwhile, the House considered the Motions on the need to “Establish Customary Court of Appeal in the Akwa Ibom State,” raised by Rt. Hon. Idongesit Ntekpere (Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara); “Introduction of Marine Patrols in the Riverine Communities of Oku Iboku, Itu Clan, Mbiaso, Uruan and its environs,” by Hon. KufreAbasi Edidem (ITU), and “Request for Immediate Take-Over of the Methodist College, Edem Idim Ibakesi by Akwa Ibom State Government,” by Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong (INI).
The Motions were referred to relevant Committees for immediate action and report to the House within a month.
Meanwhile, the House has adjourned plenary to next week Thursday, June 25, 2020 by 10:00am prompt.