First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari has called for the establishment of special court to expedite prosecution and justice system on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria to seek justice for victims and sanctions for offenders.
She made the calls on Thursday in Abuja during the Annual Conference of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum (NGWF).
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She also urged state governments to tackle hindrances militating against girl child education across the country.
Hajiya Buhari urging remaining four states are yet to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition laws (VAPP) in the country to validate the Act, also urged policy makers, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to synergies on issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) for maximum impact of interventions.
She lamented that the time to act is now, as the rising and unabated cases of SGBV which led to a declaration of the state of emergency by the federal government on 10th June 2020, had continued to be of national concern.
“As a result of this advocacy, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) declared a state of emergency against GBV on June 10th 2020. President Muhammadu Buhari supported the calls for urgent action through the establishment of an inter-ministerial Presidential Task Force on Sexual and Gender Based Violence which is yet to be fully implemented. It is now time to do so.
“The Nigerian Governors’ Wives have worked very hard over the past year to follow up on all that is required for an effective GBV response across states in Nigeria. Even though it is encouraging to note that at least 30 States have signed the VAPP, the remaining six need to be encouraged to do so as soon as possible. The lives of women and children continue to be at risk.
“It is also very important to have Sexual Assault Referral Centers or Safe Spaces where victims can receive the required immediate and long-term support.
“We need special courts where applicable, for speedy and effective handling of rape and GBV cases. Justice delayed is justice denied. If victims do not get the justice they deserve, they will never have closure and we would like for them to be known as Survivors and not just victims.
“The Girl-Child in Nigeria will continue to be a victim of exploitation and missed opportunities, if we do not remove all obstacles, they face in getting a decent education, and becoming productive members of society. An educated girl will become a wife who is in a position to add value to her family,” she said.
Also, the chairman Nigerian Governors Forum and governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that a national secretariat for the Governors Wives Forum will soon materialize.
He said the Governors’ Forum support in the 16 days of activism against GBV and with the 2021 theme “Orange the world: End GBV against women now” is unwavering with budgetary allocations already agreed upon.
On her part, the Chairperson of the NGWF, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, said Kano, Gombe and Cross River are states yet to domesticate the VAPP act.
She said that so far 31 states including the FCT have passed the VAPP law and that the development is an indication that local advocacy has been effective.
She said, “That is the spirit in which the State of Emergency was declared in 2020,we still need urgent action ,we need to ensure adequate finding of all interventions, respond effectively to the needs of survivors, intensify strategies for the prevention of GBV and collect relevant data for analysis and planning.
“Currently there are 32 Sexual Assault referral centers in Nigeria thereby calling for establishment of more centers. The NGWF is also requesting for each state to have Gender Based Violence responsive frame work,” Mrs. Fayemi said.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen, said that over 5,500 cases of rape were recorded across in six states between April 2020 and November 2021.
She urged the governors’ wives to champion the legacies of women providing supports for fellow women in creating opportunities for each other at the leadership positions.