NGO releases report on gender-based violence response
A NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisation (NGO), Women Initiative for Leadership Strategy and Innovation in Africa (Women Africa), has released a report on gender-based violence response in Nigeria.
The document, which was developed with support from the European Union and United Nations Spotlight Initiative Programme through UNESCO, is a mapping of critical response mechanisms across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It contained comprehensive information regarding available laws and policies, support systems and structures, law enforcement, justice institutions, reporting channels and coordination mechanisms.
The NGO’s Executive Director, Chinwe Onyeukwu, who made the disclosure at the weekend, said: “Following the rise in fatal cases of sexual and domestic violence against women and girls across the country during the four-month COVID-19 lockdown, the Federal Government and the state governors, under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), declared a state of emergency on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in June 2020.”
“It (government) also made commitments towards putting in place gender-based protection laws – including adopting the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP Act) and the Child Rights Act into state laws by states that have not done so – to increase protection for women and children, ensuring speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators and creating sex offenders register in each state to name and shame violators.
“Since then, few studies have been carried out to map and assess the level of implementation of these commitments and the milestones achieved by various states in the country on gender-based violence protection and child rights interventions,” she added.
In her remarks, a representative of the European Union and Programme Manager, Gender and Human Rights, Esmé Stuart, submitted: “The context for the report came from the pandemic, within the pandemic that we saw in 2020 where we had huge numbers of people being victims of GBV because of COVID-19 restriction and because of being locked up at home.
“This report is part of efforts to track the commitments from state governments in terms of gender-based violence. Also speaking, representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice/ Head, SGBV Response Unit, Yewande Gbola-Awopetu, noted: “We are all experts working in the field with hands on deck to ensure justice and proper services are delivered to victims of GBV.”