A human rights group, the Citizens Rights and Empowerment Advocacy Initiative (CREMA Initiative), has pledged free legal assistance to victims of abduction for marriage in the country.
The group in a statement jointly signed by its President/Executive Director, Comrade Rexkennedy Saltlove and the Director of Information, Comrade James Ezema, condemned growing cases of marriage by capture in Nigeria.
The decision of the body followed its findings, which “shockingly revealed that cases of marriage by kidnapping, a practice in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry, are on the rise in some parts of the country.
“Our findings also revealed that about 75% of bride abduction cases were never reported to the authorities for fear of intimidation and harassment by the abductors and their collaborators, while no proactive steps have been taken by the government to free victims, who are mainly young schoolgirls between the ages of 11 and 16.
“CREMA Initiative further discovered that victims of forced marriage or brides by abduction are children of the less privileged members of the society who cannot afford legal fees, hence to decision to assist the victims”, the group observed.
The group added “We are very worried that bride kidnappers are not punished but protected by some elites who should have condemned it as a sex crime rather than celebrate the vice as a valid form of marriage. More so, when under aged schoolgirls are the victims as recently brought to light by the case of the Bayelsan victim, Ese Oruru”.
More worrisome, according to the group, is that “most parents of the victims have been forced to nurse their pains in their bedchambers, while the authorities look the other way as though nothing happened.
“Whereas in some cases, the abductor and his companions may have raped the victim to ensure that she submits to the ‘marriage’.
“We are ready to assist such traumatised families by all legal means to secure the freedom of their wards in line with our tradition of standing with the vulnerable and less privileged members of the society.
“We, therefore, urge the victims or their families to contact via email:[email protected] or call 08175047979 or 08121649663 for necessary assistance”, the group said.
Nigerians had expressed outrage over the alleged abduction of 14-year-old Ese Oruru by one Yinusa, aka Yellow, who also forced her into marriage and got her pregnant.