Enugu state Government has applauded an advocacy cluster, the Sexual and Gender Based Violence Justice Network (SJN)and it’s members ,for their efforts in the sensitization and fight against sexual and gender based violence, saying that Governor Peter Mbah’s administration is not taking issues of sexual and gender based violence lightly, and will do all things possible to curb it.
Commissioner for Children and Gender Affairs, Mrs Ngozi Enih, made this known during a One- Day workshop on “Consolidating, Advocacy for Effective Justice Delivery for Survivors of SGBV in Nigeria”, organised by Sexual and Gender Based Violence Justice Network, (SJN) in collaboration with USAID in Enugu.
Pix- SJN Enugu Cordinator,Obiegue
She said the state Government has done a lot and is still doing more to curb sexual and gender based violence, adding that the State Governor cannot condone sexual and gender based violence by anyone. “We are not smiling. We have been creating advocacy for us to have a sane society. This has to stop”, Enih said.
The Commissioner commended the organisers of the event, saying that gathering like that pleases her because it creates an avenue for people to brainstorm and discuss the way forward. She said Enugu state had domesticated the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law( VAPP Law) and offences under VAPP Law are charged.
Pix-1- TAMAR-SARC Onah
Pix2 – Participants
Pix- Barr. Abannah
On help for victims of rape and sexual violence, Honorable Enih said the state Government has a shelter at TAMAR- SARC, where the victims go for counselling and treatment . She added that they have Forensic Doctors who carry out examination on the victims and treat them.
Pix-NAWOJ Chairperson, Ngene
Pix- Group photo
On some of the measures put in place to deal with the issues of sexual and gender based violence in the state, Enih said the State Government was trying to develop a situation room,where they will store their data for future reference.
Commending all groups that had been in the fight against sexual and gender based violence , Enih called for more collaborations, and sensitization on the menace of sexual violence , as well as punishment for perpetrators.
She lamented that victims of sexual assault don’t speak out ,thereby frustrating the efforts of bringing the perpetrators to book.
The Commissioner advised parents to speak out whenever there are incidences of sexual assult and gender violence so as to help the victims obtain justice.
Sensitizing participants on VAPP Law , a legal practitioner, Sylvia Abannah, said Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law( VAPP) Law was signed in 2015 by the former President, Goodluck Jonathan and was domesticated in Enugu state in 2019 to protect , eliminate all forms of violence, safeguard people from violence, provide remedies and to make Enugu state violence free.
She said ,”any act which may cause harm in private or public life , be it emotional, psychological, physical, economical is a violent act, it causes pain”, Abannah said.
She explained that sexual offences include unlawful touch in a sexual manner, rape, sex for promotion, sex for business patronage, sex for grade, forced prostitution among others.
Abannah expressed delight that the Nigerian Police has recognised the VAPP Law and has started charging offences under VAPP Law. She urged victims of sexual and gender violence to speak out and seek justice.
In her speech, Evelyn Onah of TAMAR-SARC, said the organisation is a Sexual Assult Referral Centre, established to help rape and sexual assult victims. It provides services for gender based violence, rape victims, physical and emotional abuse cases.
Onah added that TAMAR-SARC is under the ministry of Gender Affairs and works with three Ministries, health, Gender and Justice .They also work with the Police, Civil Defense, Counsellors, Doctors, Nurses, media and Non- Governmental Organizations.
She mentioned the challenges they were having, appealing to both public and private organisations, individuals to support TAMAR-SARC in the areas of drugs, getting a Clinical Psychologist, resident Doctor, upgrade, fund among others
Pix- Ani, Agbani Farms Ltd
She urged sexual and gender based violence victims to speak out inorder to get help, lamenting that silence by victims and their families, affects prosection of perpetrators. Onah said rape victims should report the cases within 72hours for examination and treatment of victims.
Earlier, Enugu state Cordinator of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Justice Network, (SJN), Margaret Obiegue, said SJN is an advocacy cluster consisting of 7-menber Organisation, lawyers alert, Ikra foundation for women and youth development, Community Advancement Initiative for self-reliance, Agbani farms Limited, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, Nigeria League of Women Voters and the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists(NAWOJ) under the USAID-SCALE funded project, “Consolidating, Advocacy for Effective Justice Delivery for Survivors of SGBV in Nigeria”
She said Agbani farms Limited was leading the implementation of the project in Enugu state. According to her, Asthe project is designed to push for the implementation / Activation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law( VAPPL) and Administration of Criminal Justice Law ( ACL) in Bauchi, Venue,Enugu, Kaduna and Osun states as well as seek expedite justice service delivery for victims and survivors of SGBV cases”
Hon. Enih, Commissioner for Children and Gender Affairs
She said,” to achieve it’s key objectives in Enugu state , which are strengthening the TAMAR-SARC through public private partnership and private engagement , full implementation of VAPP and ACJ Laws, Development of practice Direction, Expansion of jurisdiction to magistrate to try rape cases and to designate special courts for SGBV cases.,.It’s important to strenghtening the capacity of relevant stakeholders that will partner with the State Government in the strenghtening of Sexual Assault Referral Centre(TAMAR-SARC) towards speedy Justice service delivery to victims of sexual and Gender based Violence( SGBV)
Obiegue highlighted some of the activities SJN had carried out in Enugu state. They included advocacy / Engagement visit to ministry of Justice,ministry of Children and Gender Affairs,Commissioner of Police, Chief Registrar, Public Private Partnership and Private sector Engagement phase 1 and Sensitisation session with media practitioner and Journalist on VAPP and ACJ Law Implementation in Enugu, Capacity strengthening of key justice sector and dialogue sessions, on best practices round table on VAPP and ACJ Law Implementation and Multi-stakeholder forum, Radio program on the sensitization of VAPP and ACJ Laws including Awareness on TAMAR- SARC.”
Pix- Ambassador Onyi Mama, Heroine
She said it was expected that the private sector can support and contribute to the protection of persons from violence, work in synergy with the state government to speedy Justice service delivery to victims of SGBV).
Chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, E nugu state chapter, Comrade Ngozi Ngene,said NAWOJ has been going to communities ,sensitizing people on the menace of sexual and gender violence . She lamented that parents of victims don’t want their daughters’names to be heard anywhere, the victims most times don’t speak out too.
Participants spoke on the ways to curb the menace. They suggested sensitization should be taken to markets, churches, women and men groups, schools; to girls as well as boys. They noted that when they understand that, sexual and gender based violence are criminal offences, they will keep away from such.
Author: Maureen Ikpeama