Adamawa GBV forensic lab, first of its kind in Nigeria – UNFPA
The Adamawa Forensic Laboratory is the first of its kind dedicated to cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative.
The Country Representative of the UNFPA, Ulla Mueller, said this on Thursday at a two-day stakeholders validation workshop of the forensic capacity assessment in Yola.
Mueller, who was represented by Mr. Chris Sabum, the UNFPA Humanitarian Coordinator and Head of the Fund’s Maiduguri sub-office, said that the forensic laboratory would help to accelerate access to justice for GBV survivors.
She urged stakeholders to identify the gaps and see how to address the problems in improving services in the area of access to justice concerning GBV cases.
She said many states in Nigeria and countries in West and Central Africa are looking up to Adamawa as an example to strengthen the criminal justice system in tackling GBV issues.
Dr. Kizzie Shako, an international Forensic Expert, said one of the objectives of the stakeholder’s validation workshop is to ascertain the human resource capacity for forensic casework.
Shako added that the workshop is also to assess the infrastructure capacity available by various stakeholders and identify strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for intervention within the existing framework and provide recommendations for consideration.
She explained that “forensic medicine is the application of science in cases where violence occurs in gathering evidence for court presentation as an expert witness.”
She, therefore, urged participants at the workshop to appreciate the role of forensic medicine and forensic science in managing GBV to secure convictions and protect communities from further violence.
Dr. Danladi Idrissa, UNFPA’s Programme Officer in Adamawa, said the state recorded over 4,000 rape cases from 2017 to date, and only 10 percent of reported cases were prosecuted, and without significant conviction.
Mrs. Saso Ali, the Permanent Secretary, Adamawa Ministry of Women Affairs, appreciated the UNFPA intervention in addressing the problem of GBV in the state.
She said perpetrators of GBV hitherto go scout-free, but believed that with the forensic lab, things would change as many convictions would be recorded.
The reports gathered that critical stakeholder including the commissioner for women’s affairs, the commandant of NSCDC, the deputy commissioner of police CID, permanent secretaries from ministries of women’s affairs, justice, health and planning, civil society organizations, and FIDA attended the workshop.