A non-profit organisation, Lawyers Alert, has said 80 percent of human rights violations in Benue State are gender-based related and that less than 10 percent of the survivors access justice.
Lawyers Alert’s Senior Legal Officer, Barrister Solumtochukwu Precious Ozobulu disclosed this during a press conference, saying that Sexual and Gender-Based Violence survivors in Benue could not access justice in spite of the passage of VAPP) Law 2019.
Lawyers Alert called on Benue State Governor, Rev Fr Dr. Hyacinth Alia, to expedite action on the review of the VAPP Law and put mechanism in place for the operationalization of the Sexual Assaults Referral Centre (SARC).
Ozobulu said, “We call for an urgent review of the VAPP Law in order to enhance access to justice for vulnerable persons especially women and girls. The review of the law will benefit over 100,000 (one hundred thousand) women and girls who lack access to justice and other benefits of this legislation immensely.”
The 8th Benue State Assembly passed the VAPP law 2019 which criminalized all forms of violence against persons.
According to Ozobulu, Lawyers Alert is working with certain members of the 10th Benue Assembly to see that the law is reviewed. Solumtochukwu Ozobulu said the passage of this law sought to protect vulnerable persons especially Women and girls.
However, the implementation of this laudable legislation has not been as smooth as earlier envisaged. Lawyers Alert said “Despite the passage of this law, violence against persons especially Women and girls has persisted and sadly, survivors of gender-based violence in Benue State hardly access justice owing to limitations and gaps in the legislation.”
“It is estimated that over 80 % of human rights violations in Benue State are gender-based violence related. Interestingly, less than 10% of these survivors of gender-based violence access justice.”