…As Court remands man, 31, in prison custody for allegedly defiling minor***
An activist, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, on Friday called for the protection of mentally ill women walking the streets from rapists and ritualists.
Ramatu who runs the Foundation for the Protection of Women and Children in Nigeria, said in Kaduna that such mentally ill women also have right to protection like all other citizens.
Tijjani therefore urged Federal and state governments to evacuate all women with mental illness from the streets and send them to Psychiatric hospitals for treatment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the activist made the call while speaking with newsmen after visiting places where some of the women stayed in Kaduna on Friday.
“Mental illness, irrespective of the severity, has often been cited as one of the reasons that deprive a woman of her basic human and civic rights.
“They are often knowingly or unknowingly marginalized, invalidated, violated and ignored in the society.
“There is need to evacuate all these mentally challenged women that are walking the street naked; mentally ill women are commonly and repetitively abused with rape and other sexual assaults, as well as physical violence.
“The regular forms of trauma, domestic violence, sexual abuse, vulnerability, stigma and victimization faced by women also have an impact on their mental health.
“Our childreds are seeing them walking nakedly and no one shows concern about the dangers they face everyday in their lives in term of what to eat, where they sleep and who pressurises them in the night.
“Women living in poor social and environmental circumstances with associated low education, low income and difficult family and marital relationships, are much more likely than other women to suffer from mental disorders.
“The sad thing is that some of them have children from the rape they suffer on the streets.”
She also urged NGOs, Civil societies, corporate bodies and religious leaders to come up with new initiatives aimed at promoting mental health through mainstream health promotion activities.
Tijjani suggested the establishment of preventative mental health programs as an essential component of care provision to people at risk of mental health problems.
She said that citizens needed to be educated on the issue, so as to come up with new ideas that are very essential toward promoting better mental health outcomes.
“If the stigma attached to mental illness and other mental health problems are addressed appropriately, we could dream of a compassionate society genuinely promoting realization of social justice, equity, access and rights to persons with mental illness.”
Similiarly, Madam Ladi Makawa, founder of Women of Vision Development Initiative, said the rehabilitation of mentally challenged women was a responsibility of government.
“Women across the country must join hands in raising more voices for the sole purpose of changing life of those women that are sleeping in dirty places with their children.”
She stressed that government must provide free treatment to all mentally challenged women and rehabilitate them afterwards.
Hajiya Maryam Ahmed, Director, Rural Mothers and Gender Initiative Nigeria, called for sensitisation of the public to show emphacy to mentally ill women and their children.
She noted that most of them were in the condition they found themselves because nobody cared.
Hajiya Hafsat Baba, Kaduna State Commissioner of Human Service and Social Development, said the government is doing its best to make life better for mentally challenged women and plans to set up a home to cater for them.
Baba urged the general public to also assist the government in taking care of such mental health victims.
In the meantime, an Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Ibadan, on Friday, ordered the remand of a 31-year-old man, Mutiu Hassan in prison custody for allegedly defiling a five-year-old girl.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr O. Adisa, who did not take the plea of Hassan, ordered that he should be kept in Agodi prison and the case file sent to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for advice.
Adisa adjourned the case until Aug. 30 for mention.
The defendant, who resides in Anfaani Asabari Junction area of Ibadan, is facing a charge of defilement.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Sgt. Salewa Hammed, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. at his residence.
Hammed said the girl’s mother had sent her and her brother on an errand to buy bread, when the defendant lured her to follow him.
“Her mother seached for the girl and later found the defendant on top of her under the staircase.
“She reported the case at Orita Challenge Police Station,” the prosecutor said.
Hammed said the offence contravened Section 218 of the Criminal Law of Oyo State, 2000.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the section stipulates 14 years imprisonment for offenders.