Aisha Buhari advocates special court for rape, SGBV in Nigeria
The First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, has on Thursday, slammed the Federal Government for its failure to fully implement its mandate against ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Nigeria.
She stated that, it is time to do so is now, adding that the rising and unabated cases of SGBV, which led to a declaration of a state of emergency by the Federal Government on June 10, 2020, had continued to be of national concern.
She stated these in Abuja during the second annual conference of the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum.
She called for the establishment of special courts to expedite action against cases of SGBV and decimate all obstacles against the education of the girl-child.
At the event, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said a national secretariat for the NGWF would soon materialise to support the end to SGBV.
He said the governors’ forum support in the 16 days of activism against SGBV was unwavering with budgetary allocations already agreed upon.
Mrs Buhari advised that every state in Nigeria must see the need to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.
She called on every local government and senatorial district to see the need to have centres where cases of SGBV could be reported.
The President’s wife said in the pursuit of justice for survivors of SGBV, justice delayed was justice denied.
Mrs Buhari stated, “As a result of this entire advocacy, the NGF declared a state of emergency against GBV on June 10, 2020. His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, supported the call for urgent action through the establishment of an inter-ministerial Presidential Task Force on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, which has yet to be fully implemented. It is now time to do so.
“The Nigerian governors’ wives have worked very hard over the past year to follow up on all that is required for an effective GBV response across states in Nigeria.
“Even though it is encouraging to note that at least 30 states have signed the VAPP, the remaining six need to be encouraged to do so as soon as possible. The lives of women and children continue to be at risk.
“Efforts need to be ramped up to provide adequate shelter and care for victims of GBV. Every state should have a shelter, ideally every LG or at least senatorial district should have one.
“It is also very important to have sexual assault referral centres or safe spaces where victims can receive the required immediate and long-term support.
“We need special courts, where applicable, for speedy and effective handling of rape and GBV cases. Justice delayed is justice denied. If victims do not get the justice they deserve, they will never have closure and we will like for them to be known as survivors and not just victims.”
Fayemi said that the entire responsibility of ending SGBV would not be solely domesticated at the Ministry of Women Affairs, but in other relevant ministries as well.
He said the 36 states governors were committed to the drive of the women, hence the domestication of the VAPP Act in 31 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, adding that the remaining six states yet to assent to the bill would gradually do so.