Salome Uwem, a 14-year-old girl who was reportedly assaulted by her stepfather and stepbrother for refusing their rape attempt in Akwa Ibom state, has been rescued by a human rights organization.

The Akwa State Ministry of Justice has come to the rescue of the SS1 student of Community Secondary School, Uyo, according to the Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, which released a statement on Tuesday, June 22.

According to the organization’s statement, the teen who hailed from Ikenba lane, off Abak Road, Uyo, approached Manson Dumlebabari, a Youth Corper in the school and member of the Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign.

Dumlebabari informed the head of the organization after learning of the girl’s condition and incessant assault allegedly by the stepfather and stepbrother.

This led to a series of information and contacts of rights groups such as Franklyn Isong, Chairman of the Akwa/Ibom State Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) who looped in the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) with Emem Etete Esq heading the organization.

The matter was brought to the notice of the Ministry of Justice by FIDA, and a representative from the Ministry, Ruth Nfon Esq, visited the community Secondary School, four towns, Uyo.

Following discussions with the school's principal and the 14-year-old girl's uncle, Ruth Nfon Esq escorted the Uwem to the Ministry for documentation and future action on the problem.

Currently, the fourteen-year-old girl would remain in the Akwa/Ibom State Government's guardianship until further notice.

Barrister Jane James Esq has urged the Ministry of Justice to guarantee that if the offenders are proven guilty, they will be brought to justice.

Barrister Jane James expressed her gratitude to the Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Chairperson of FIDA, and the Ministry of Justice in Akwa/Ibom State for assisting Uwem.

Earlier this month, Nigeria declared a state of emergency on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, when the number of sexual assault cases spiked.

“Before the pandemic, violent and domestic attacks on women were common. However, the lockdowns caused a significant spike in the incidents, resulting in an alarming increase in brutality and death,” it said.

The SGBV movement claimed that Nigeria saw an alarming increase in reports of sexual and gender-based violence during the COVID-19 epidemic and subsequent countrywide lockdown.

"According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (2018), 30 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 reported being subjected to sexual abuse. The Lagos State Domestic and Gender Violence Response Team reported a total of 3193 cases of gender-based violence between January and December 2020 alone. The statistics are similarly dire across the rest of the country," they added.

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