FG urges effective implementation of all SGBV policies in Nigeria
The Federal Government (FG) has urged all stakeholders in various states of Nigeria and International Development Partners (IDPs) to effectively implement all the policies, programmes and laws relating to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
FG made the call on Wednesday in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation (FMINO), Modupe Ogundoro.
This is in the wake of a high-level engagement with states on the event titled “Promoting rule of law, Access to Justice and enhancing Criminal Justice Pathway to address Violence against Women and Girls on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, at Abuja.
The three-day programme was organised by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In his key note address, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef O. Fagbemi (SAN), represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Beatrice Jedy-Agba, noted that the problem of SGBV had continued to dominate national and global discussions because of its prevalence and difficulties in detecting and prosecuting most offenders.
“SGBV is highly insidious and constitutes a grave human rights violation,” the Minister of Justice said in his address.
“It is a hidden crime on account of its cultural permissiveness as it is deeply rooted in harmful gender norms and practices which forms our way of life, thus making its detection and eradication very difficult.
“This situation is further exacerbated by gender stereotyping and the impunity of perpetrators, taking advantage of family ties and shaming victims to avoid prosecution,” Fagbemi hinted.
Fagbemi further explained that critical factors of the situation had led to the engagement with the State Actors on SGBV.
He added that this is because SGBV are mostly State offences, predominantly committed in the communities within various states.
Fagbemi said that with the enactment into law of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Law by nearly all States of the Federation, it became necessary to develop and build the capacities of State Actor to effectively implement the provisions of the law.
The HAGF highlighted SGBV as an act that is perpetrated against a person’s will on the basis of gender norms and unequal power relations.
It manifests in various forms, including, Rape, Sexual Assault, sexual harassment, spousal battery, child sexual abuse, child marriage, incest, abandonment, forced isolation, female genital mutilation, harmful widowhood practices, economic abuse as well as emotional and psychological abuse.
Furthermore, he said the growing incidences of SGBV therefore demanded stronger and more coordinated responses and approaches as it continued to determine family values and endanger the lives of women and children.
Fagbemi assured Nigerians of the FG’s commitment to the implementation of its obligation under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights instruments as well as national laws prohibiting incidences of SGBV namely, Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act of 2015 (VAPP), the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act (2015) and Child Rights Act, amongst others.
He promised that Government would continue to develop appropriate frameworks and counter-measures to overcome the unique challenges posed by SGBV.
In addition, he said Federal Government took further steps amongst which are: Setting up a Federal SGBV Prosecution Hub in December 2021, to ensure a coordinated and responsive investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases at Federal level, Facilitating access to justice for SGBV Victims through prosecution of SGBV cases, legal counseling and mediation between parties and procurement of protection orders.
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