… Urges All States That Have Not Adopted VAPP ACT to Do so With Utmost Urgency
…Calls On Govt to Declare State of Emergency on Gender-based Violence
…Tasks Chief Judge in Different States to Designate a Special Fast Track Court to Handle Gender-Based Violence Matters
…Advocates for Establishment of a Sexual Referral Center With Rapid Response Teams Attached
By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has called for concerted efforts from the AGF, IGP, Chief Judges of States, States’ Speaker, States’ Attorney Generals and 36 states’ Commisioners of Police for prompt action to curb the increasing rate of gender based violence, particularly the abuse and rape of women and the defilement of babies and children across the States of Nigeria.
FIDA which noted that our children, girls and women are no longer safe with the spate of rape cases, urged states that have not adopted the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, the Child Rights Law, and other related laws to do so as a matter of utmost urgency.
These clarion calls were contained in a statement signed by the Country Vice President/National President FIDA Nigeria, Rhoda Prevail Tyoden sent to Sundiata Post.
FIDA further called on government to declare state of emergency on Gender-based Violence and tasked Chief Judge in the different states to designate a special fast track court to handle gender-based violence matters.
The group also advocated for the establishment of a Sexual Referral Centre with Rapid Response Team attached, comprising the police, doctors, lawyers, social welfare officers, psychologists, psychiatrists.
The statement reads in full:
“It is no more news that there has been a tremendous acceleration in the number of gender-based violence cases, particularly the abuse and rape of women and the defilement of babies and children across the States of Nigeria. With these evil and unpleasant happenings in our communities, our children, girls, and women are no longer safe.
FIDA Nigeria makes this clarion call to major key players for a more holistic and aggressive approach in tackling this serious challenge across Nigeria.
FIDA Nigeria strongly objects to this evil trend of the incessant abuse and sexual molestation of women and children and demands speedy and decisive action.
The government needs to declare a state of emergency on gender-based violence so it is tackled forthwith, most efficiently and effectively across all states of the Federation.
Rape and Defilement are CRIMES! If you do the Crime, you must be prosecuted and adequately punished for the crime. There must be NO Compromise nor the settlement of any such cases!
FIDA’s mandate is to protect, preserve, and promote the rights of the vulnerable in society, especially the indigent women and children who are often preyed upon. We must heed their cry and come to their immediate aid.
- All States should ensure that they have in place the enacted laws or have reviewed their laws to deal with this menace adequately. We call for the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, the Child Rights Law, and other related laws. All states that have not adopted the VAPP ACT should with utmost urgency adopt the Act.
Also, we advocate that the enabling structures and facilities that will ensure the effective implementation of the VAPP Act be put in place, this includes and most importantly the setting up and efficient running of the Implementation Committee provided for by the law.
- The Police who have the responsibility to arrest, investigate these cases must be well equipped to fight this menace diligently to secure convictions that will serve as a deterrent to offenders.
FIDA insists on the arrest, prosecution, conviction, and punishment of offenders. We request the setup and activation of ‘Gender desk’ in all police posts or stations manned by trained personnel and the free opening of case files for Gender-Based Violence cases.
- We call on the Chief Judge’ in the different States to designate a special fast track court to handle Gender-Based Violence matters; while also issuing practice direction on GBV cases and children related matters to ensure we expedite the prosecution of such matters in court. We are also appealing for the establishment of the family court in line with the provision of the Child Rights Act/ Law and the provision of all machinery to ensure it begins operation speedily.
- We also call on the Attorney General of the respective states to graciously grant FIATs without unnecessary bureaucratic protocols to persons/ bodies (such as FIDA) desirous of aiding this fight against sexual predators, so they can prosecute such criminal cases directly. You can also set up specialized units in the Ministry of Justice to handle GBV matters.
- Protection and support for victims of GBV, including shelters in all states.
- We advocate for the establishment of a Sexual Referral Center (one-stop-shop) with Rapid Response Teams attached, comprising the police, doctors, lawyers, social welfare officers, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. To reduce the victim trauma and aid the preservation of evidence for the effective prosecution of perpetrators.
- Free medical (including Psycho-analysis) treatment for victims of rape/defilement.
- Opening and operation of the Sex Offenders Register across all the states of the Federation in line with the provision of the VAPP Act/ Law.
- A prompt collaborative effort by all stakeholders, we must work together to fight this evil successfully.
- The classification of CSOs and NGOs who directly work on gender-based violence matters as ‘Essential Services’ during such pandemics will be very productive; besides budgeted funding to support their work in this fight.
FIDA Nigeria calls on ALL to speak out against these evil and atrocious acts meted out against defenceless women and children in our communities. We must rise on their behalf, and demand for justice. Faith-based institutions, community leaders, must also speak out and condemn such acts.
The shaming, victimization, and stigmatization of Victims of Gender-Based Violence must stop. Rather let us shame the ACT and the perpetrators while encouraging victims to speak out and report all Abuses.
FIDA is committed to undertaking more advocacy and sensitization on matters of GBV and calls on all to join the fight against GBV
We stand united with other NGOs and CSOs to say NO to this evil permeating our communities.
This is a call to prompt action; because Justice delayed, is Justice denied!
For FIDA NIGERIA:
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President FIDA Nigeria