ABUJA- The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has urged traditional, community and religious leaders on prompt reportage of cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in their communities.
NAPTIP Director-General, Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi, made the call in Abuja at a workshop organised with the collaboration of Ford Foundation to discuss SGBV strategies.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised to further strengthen collaboration with
traditional rulers, community and religious leaders in the FCT and guard against violence against persons in their communities.
The workshop was part of the activities to commemorate the 2023 days of activism against SGBV.
Waziri-Azi, however, said that with the domestication of Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in almost all the states in the country, progress had been recorded in favour of violence against persons in the country.
The NAPTIP boss said that almost all the states in the country had adopted the VAPP Act as a law, adding that 34 states actually domesticated it while some states like Kano and Katsina also incorporated various sections of the Act into their Penal Code laws.
“So this advocacy workshop is an avenue for us to continue to strengthen collaboration among ourselves, and for us to understand the different rules and responsibility level on us.
It’s also to let us know issues around SGBV not just in FCT but Nigeria at large.
“We all need to know the role to play at the community level, religion leaders, law enforcement and even the judiciary as a society and as a country.
“For us in NAPTIP last year alone, we received a lot of cases of SGBV in the FCT; one thing I know for sure is that the culture of silence has progressively reduced in the FCT and this is necessitated by the increase in reportage which is done in trust.
“In the past, people din’t complain but now increase in reportage shows that attitude that needs not to be tolerated must not be tolerated.
“We have cases where neighbours blow whistle on their neighbours; children send us Petitions, reporting their parents; even spouses report each other and that is the change we have seen lately and that is the change we keep encouraging.
“We can only encourage this change when people come to report at NAPTIP; most time people’s courage are killed, denied them of justice but when they report and something is done, it further embolden them,” the D-G said.
She also frowned at a situation where she received complaints of eight rape cases in a day, particularly on Nov. 23, while calling on the community leaders to do more in reporting cases of violence against persons in their communities.
According to her, government cannot do everything, but with the cooperation of the community leaders, a lot can be achieved in curbing SGBV and other violence against persons.
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf , commended NAPTIP for achieving breakthrough since the creation of the VAPP Act in 2015.
Represented by Justice Angela Otaluka, the CJ said appointing six Justices of the FCT to handle SGBV cases was because of the interest he had on the issue, as well as to reduce such crime in Nigerian society.
He said that Judges handling such cases gave reports of progress made in that direction, while pledging to continue to support NAPTIP with the dispensation of justice to whoever that deserved it. (NAN)