February 1, 2021

NHRC commences second phase hearing on Sexual, gender-based violence in Enugu

NHRC commences second phase hearing on Sexual, gender-based violence in Enugu

By Chinedu Adonu

A special investigation panel on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, SGBV, constituted by the National Human Rights Commission has commenced hearing in Enugu, south east Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Barr, Tony Ojukwu in an address, noted that the panel received one hundred and thirteen complaints across the six geo-political zones, with south east accounting for the highest number of thirty-five, representing 30% of the total complaints received.
“This panel was constituted as a result of the complaint received on Friday the 26th of April 2019, where armed security personnel led by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, under the auspices of the FCT Joint Task Force raided night clubs and the streets of Abuja. They claimed that the raids were intended to arrest prostitutes in which about 71 women were arrested and held in different police stations in Abuja.
“In these raids, nine or very few men were arrested. Victims of the raid made serious allegations of rape, sexual harassment, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments”.
Ojukwu said that the incident raised an outcry on the SGBV menace in homes, work places, church places, and other places of worship. “The case of little Ochanya in Benue state can also not be overemphasize” Ojukwu noted.
Details of the terms of reference of the panel, include but not limited to review extant laws and regulations applicable to joint task forces in all the states and FCT in particular, especially the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and whether such laws and regulations are compliant with Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution and other international human rights conventions and protocols applicable to Nigeria.
Others are to identify individuals directly responsible for any violations and abuses and make recommendations for further actions including but not limited to prosecutions, disciplinary proceedings and damages amongst others.

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NHRC commended the complainants and the public for the courage to lodge and follow up their complaints and submit memoranda to this Panel despite some reported cases of intimidation.
“I want to reiterate the assurance of this Panel and the Commission’s commitment to the principles of fair hearing in discharging its functions”. Ojukwu said.
They also thanked the Governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his support in providing a convenience climate for Human Rights works in the state through zero tolerance to Sexual and Gender Based Violence, SGBV.