FG mulls special court for sexual violence cases

From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin and Sola Ojo, Kaduna

The Federal Government would soon establish a special court to try sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases, Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, said at a news conference to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in Abuja, yesterday.

The day marks the start of 16 Days of Activism on violence against women and girls, an international campaign that takes place each year from November 25 to December 10 to raise awareness on the menace.

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The 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women and Girls was originated by activists at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and this year marks its 30th anniversary.

The minister regretted the slow approach to justice against perpetrators of violence against women.

“Justice delayed is justice denied, our courts should wake up to the realities of prosecuting perpetrators of violence against women and girls. We will not rest until perpetrators are brought to book. We emphasise on the need for coordinated approach by stakeholders to end GBV against women.”

The minister also explained that because it was the ministry’s determination to amplify the voice of women and girls that it scaled up the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act to 33 states of the federation.

She called for synergy and emphasised the need to report all manners of violence against women for prompt action.

She identified child marriage as a form of violence against women, saying that the girl-child needed to be educated so that she would know how to take care of herself, her family and people around her.

Executive Director of UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Natalia Kanem, who is on a four-day official visit to Nigeria, expressed the commitment of the UN to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

The UN executive director urged all to show love and care to women and girls to make a world that women’s dignity and autonomy was guaranteed possible.

Following the spike in reported cases of gender-based violence and the need to reduce the trend in Kaduna State, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) has trained officers and men of the gender and family unit of the Kaduna State Command of the Nigerian Police on the implementation of VAPP Law 2018.

The law which was passed by Kaduna State House of Assembly and subsequently assented to by Governor Nasir El-Rufai in 2018, was domesticated to replace Kaduna Penal Code in addressing gender-based violence with stiffer penalties of offenders.

The one-day capacity building for gender and family unit of the state Police Command was designed to strengthen the capacity of officers and men of the gender and family unit of command on Violence Against Person Prohibition law (2018) and its implementation in Kaduna State.

Project Officer, Prevention of Gender-based Violence project, Joy Gadani, said the implementing partners saw the need to bring all the stakeholders including the police on board to see a possibility drastically reduce gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, the Kwara State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Makinde Iskil Ayinla, has appealed to residents to shun any disgraceful and criminal act that could drag the image of the state in the mud.

According to the NSCDC spokesman in the State Babawale Zaid Afolabi, the Commandant made the appeal while flagging off the sensitisation road show organised by the anti-human trafficking and illegal migrant unit of the Corps.

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