An Advocacy Cluster, ( Coalition of Non- Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations) Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Justice Network ((SJN) has trained Journalists on administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) law , with a call on journalists to amplify the Administration of the laws in Enugu State.
Enugu State coordinator of SJN,l, Margaret Obiegue made the call recently at a one-day sensitisation workshop for journalists and media practitioners held at the Bridge Waters Hotel, Enugu.
She said there is need to implement the VAPP law and the ACJ law in Enugu State, because of the benefits .
The State Cordinator said the media sensitisation workshop was aimed at eliciting actions from relevant stakeholders on the justice law reforms objectives.
She revealed that similar workshop was organised for journalists and media practitioners in Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna and Osun states, where the two laws have been domesticated.
“Our key focus is on; upgrading of TAMARSARC, establishment of SGBV Court, development of practice direction, establishment of VAPP regulatory body and expansion of jurisdiction to chief magistrate to try rape cases.
“The common issue that cuts across the target states is the lack of adequate and effective implementation of the laws, and a non-state agency that has the responsibility of ensuring implementation and oversight.
“This sensitisation session with media practitioners and journalists on ACJL and VAPPL implementation across project states is to leverage media networks and agency to amplify the SJN advocacy.
“It is also to ask and elicit action from relevant stakeholders on its policy reform objectives, in order to streamline the discussions towards achieving a significant outcome centred on sexual and gender-based violence” she said..
Speaking, the Chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ) Enugu, Comrade Ngozi Ngene, urged media workers to drum support for the implementation of the ACJL and VAPP laws in Enugu State, adding that NAWOJ had no tolerance for gender-based violence.
She observed that because some people are not aware of the reformed laws, people tend to protect the perpetrators of sexual-based violence rather than the victims of such violence . She noted that the media have to inform the public and highlight the punishment involved, should anyone contravene the law.
In her presentation, the resource person, Nnenna Anozie said administration of criminal justice law is about restorative justice.
She explained that the essence of the reformed laws is not for punitive measures but to ensure that justice is done and that is dispensed within a record time without unnecessarily delay.
Anozie disclosed that a lot of SGVB cases suffered delay in the court because of the prosecutors’ and lawyers’ failure to understand the ACJL.
She explained that under the ACJL, a suspect is assumed to the innocent until found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction,adding that only court has the constitutional authority to declare someone criminal.
She said VAPPL has removed the difficulty of proving the SVGB case in court. She therefore urged survivors of sexual and gender-based violence to report to the appropriate authorities and also seek legal redress .
The Resource person noted that the perpetrator’s rights should be observed while survivors should be paid compensation for their loss and trauma.
She said that the VAPP law is meant to eliminate violence in public and private life to prohibit violence of any kind.
The resource person urged the public to read the ACJ and VAPP laws, in order for them to know their rights.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Justice Network ( SJN), is an advocacy cluster funded by USAID.
The cluster, included SJ NAWOJ, Agbani Farm as well as Lawyers Alert, and Nigerian League of Women Voters among others.
Author: Maureen Ikpeama