SJN pays advocacy visit to DPP, WACOL TAMARSAC seeks review of VAPP law

 Sexual and Gender Based Violence Justice Network, SJN, has decried the  challenges faced in prosecuting sexual violence cases in  Enugu state government and appealed to the State government to create a separate court for sexual abuse cases and revive the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law VAPP  law.

The group  made the appeal on Friday ,when leaders of SNJ paid an advocacy visit  to  the Director of Public Prosection, Enugu state, Ngozi Ikem- Okoye in her office at the Ministry of Justice ,Enugu.

Pix- R-L, Ugwu, Alozie ,Ikem-Okoye,Obiegue

Speaking, Enugu state Coordinator ,CJN, Margret Obiegue, informed the DPP that they were on an advocacy visit,  to advocate for a review  of VAPP law,  seek better ways of handling sexual / gender violence cases, and  attract private patnership.

She said the appeal was necessary because of the poor implementation of VAPP law and challenges faced ,prosecuting sexual abuse cases and getting justice for the survivors.


Obiegue informed the DPP that CJN is a Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations, with clusters which include the Nigeria  Association of Women Journalists,NAWOJ, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Justice network, SJN, Chairperson,League of Women Voters and Initiative for Girls and Women Enlightement, IGWE, among others.
Responding , the Director of Public Prosecution ,Ministry of Justice,Enugu,  

Ngozi Ikem- Okoye, lamented the challenges they face handling rape ,and other sexual abuse cases. She said that they had sexual  violence cases but prosecution of the cases suffered set back and most times, survivors do not report the cases.

Speaking on the challenges of handling sexual violence cases,  the Director, said that there is no Witness support fund for the prosecutors. The prosecutors give transport fare to the witnesses or survivors  from their pockets. Most time, family of the victims will not report sexual abuse cases,, sometimes, they will collect money from the  perpetrators  and will want the matter to be struck out. 

She lamented that  some Judges, Lawyers, traditional rurlers, Clegymen and Policemen fraustrate prosecution by collecting bribe from perpetrators and killing  the case by striking it out or taking the survivors out of the town.

“Even Judges trivialize the cases. Our female Judges trivialize the matter. They grant frivolous applications.

“Some times influencial  people  will mount pressure on you not to prosecute the case. Sometimes, some they will amend the charge, sometimes the survivor’s family  will embarrass you,, they will go behind and collect money from the perpetrators and tell you they have settled,” Ikem-Okoye said.

She also lamented shortage of Judges, saying that Enugu state is in dear need of Judges and something urgent should be done about it, so that justice would be dispensed on time.

The DPP disclosed that most times they were threatened by the perpetrators , mocked, and denied by the Survivors’ families. Sometimes, Police will play along with the perpetrators and influence the survivors to drop their cases .

She said that Enugu state is slow in responding to the VAPP law and appealed to the government to review the law, saying  that a review of the VAPP law is very important.

“A lot of people are ignorant of the Child’s Rights  law. We don’t have family court . We have over 100 cases but no prosecution. Once we got sexual violence cases and called the family of the survivors, they will not come.

Pix- L-R, Obiegue, Alozie,Ugwu

“There should be a law that will punish any one who refused to report sexual abuse cases, to serve as detriment to others.

“There should be  a punishment so that  they will serve  as detriment for guidance and  parents who are complacent in such  incidences  as concerns  the minors. Some will collect money and run , change phone  numbers  They will not come to TAMARSAC for counselling, Ikem-Okoye said. She assured patnership with the SJN

The SJN team at the visit were, 

Margret Obiegue, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Justice network, SJN, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists,NAWOJ , Nnenna Alozie, Chairperson,League of Women Voters, and   Florence  Ugwu, Initiative for Girls and Women Enlightement,IGWE

The group also visited WACOL TAMARSAC, Enugu where  they were received by the representatives of the Chief Executive,Professor Joy Ezeilo.

A member, Nnenna Alozie,b informed  the WACOL TAMARSAC  team about  the purpose of their visit   She said that they came  to seek patnership  on tackling the challenges of prosecuting sexual abuse cases and the need for private patnership.

Responding, the Chief Executive of WACOL TAMARSAC, Professor Joy Ezeilo , who was represented by her senior staff, Egodi Igwe,  informed SJN that  her organisation  experienced challenges in prosecuting sexual abuse cases. She said WACOL TAMARSAC resolves conflict , sexual and gender based  violence, offers free legal aid.”If it’s civil, we mediate, if it is criminal , we work  with the police, Igwe said. 

She promised to relay their message to the Chief Executive, Professor Joy Ezeilo ,assuring patnership.

Author: Maureen Ikpeama

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