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Aisha Buhari flays government over delay in fight against sexual, gender violence

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Matthew Ogune (Abuja) and Azeez Olorunlomeru (Lagos)
03 December 2021   |   2:45 am
Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, has faulted the Federal Government over failure to fully implement its mandate on ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Talen (left); wife of the President, Dr. Aisha Buhari; Chairperson, Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and Secretary, Dr. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, during the forum’s second yearly conference in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA<br />

‘Zero budget for implementation of VAAP Act hindering justice’

Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, has faulted the Federal Government over failure to fully implement its mandate on ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

She also called for the establishment of special courts to expedite action on SGBV cases and remove obstacles to the education of the girl-child.

Buhari spoke, yesterday, at the second conference of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum. The theme was: ‘Sustaining Action on the State of Emergency Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

She stressed the need for every state to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act while calling on local councils and senatorial districts to create centres where SGBV cases can be reported.

“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. 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,” she said.

ALSO, Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, berated state governments over failure to provide budgetary allocations for speedy implementation of the VAPP Act.

Ojigho stated this in Abuja, yesterday, at an event to roll out the ‘Survivor’s Guide’ put together by Invictus Africa.

The Guide seeks to help survivors of rape and other forms of violence access justice and information.

“Sadly, many states that have even signed are yet to put allocation in their state budgets for implementing this Act. That is why we are calling on the government to put their money, where their mouth is.

“When they (survivor) get to hospitals, they should be taken care of free of charge. When they get to courts, their cases should be fast-tracked. That is why the idea of setting up special courts, which matter deals with purely SGBV, will help fast-track many of these complaints when they come to the judicial system,” she said.

Earlier, in her opening remarks, Executive Director, Invictus Africa, Bukky Shonibare, explained that the Guide would help survivors of SGBV know their rights, how and where to get help, know the lies, and know what to do or not do when violated.

On her part, Executive Director, FAME Foundation, Ms Aderonke Bello, said: “A lot of people do not know what to do. We are all talking about ending violence, but what about the survivors? This is why this book is timely.”

Also, governments at all levels were advised to put in place a procedural data mechanism to accelerate punishment for SGBV.

Making the call at the lunch of a book, ‘Stain on Humanity’, in Lagos, author and social crusader, Mr. Kabir Bakare, said it is expedient for African leaders to save humanity through effective legislation.