December 9, 2020

Sexual Violence: NHRC receives 754 complaints from 27 states, FCT


…As Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos, Sokoto Top List

By Tordue Salem, Abuja

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has received a total of seven hundred and fifty-four (754) complaints involving over nine hundred and fifty-four (954) victims from twenty-seven (27) state offices, including the headquarters, which is speedily being resolved, with Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos and the Sokoto States, leading others in sexual violence cases.

The said complaints which were received between the period of January and June 2020 are being resolved in line with the Commission’s mandate and the Standing Order and Rules of Procedure (STORP).

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, who made this disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of a High-Level Workshop for Human Rights Defenders in Support of Victims of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the FCT and Spotlight Focal State, noted that “the aforesaid statistics exclude cases received by other SGBV responders like NAPTIP, the Police, Social Welfare Departments, SCSOs and NGOs”.

Also read: Rape in Kano: Lockdown spike due to victim, perpetrator proximity — Fatima

Ojukwu said that on “the outset of restrictions and lockdown occasioned by Covid-19 in Nigeria, the number of SGBV cases received by the Commission increased astronomically with its attendant consequences saying that many factors have been adduced for this, including victims being in close proximity to their abusers for long periods and their increased financial dependence on perpetrators.”

According to the Executive Secretary, “the majority of cases received by the Commission emanated from Lagos state, Adamawa State, Ebonyi State, Sokoto State and Cross River State.

The Commission, he noted is “partnering with other stakeholders in adopting the use of technology to scale up response and protection for victims/survivors, in addition to scaling up the usage of “our social media channels and cutting edge applications such as and UNSUB, etc”.

He further said,” the Commission has also set up a Special Investigation Panel (SIP) on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, which he said was constituted as a result of reported cases of SGBV where victims made serious allegations of rape, sexual harassment and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment.

“To further sensitize citizens on issues of SGBV, he recalled that the Commission organized (nationwide) 5 Days of Activism with the theme “Equality and Dignity for Nigerian Women, Join the Fight against Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”.

Apart from the aforesaid efforts of the Commission to mitigate issues of SGBV, it currently runs the State of Human Rights programme in collaboration with other stakeholders every Thursday morning by 8.40 am on AIT, focusing on SGBV and other human rights violations.

Other interventions, Ojukwu noted include 16 days of Activism on SGB, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and upgrading of the Commission’s Call Centre with Specific SGBV Toll-Free Lines with support from UN-EU Spotlight Initiative and other partners.

Speaking at the occasion also, the representative of the Deputy Senate President (DSP) and Senior Special Assistant on Political and Constitutional Matters to (DSP), Daniel Bwala said that his Principal sponsored a Bill against sexual harassment at institutions of higher learning in Nigeria which he noted has passed the second reading in the Senate.

He said the Deputy Senate President who is also the Head of Committee on Constitutional Amendment will support any bill or amendment targeted at improving the human rights condition of women and girls in the country.

Other participants at the event include UNDP, EU delegation to Nigeria, NBA, FIDA, NUJ, CSOs, etc.

Vanguard News Nigeria