The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, says only 11 out of over 3,000 reported cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in six states have been prosecuted.
Tallen revealed this during the launch of the National Strategic Knowledge Management Technical Working Group on SGBV by the ministry and its partners under the Spotlight Initiative programme of the EU and UN to eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
The joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is being implemented in Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos, Sokoto and the FCT.
According to the minister, data from the SGBV Situation Room revealed that out of over 3,000 reported cases, 107 were fatal, 742 cases were still open, while 188 cases were closed and only 11 had so far been prosecuted.
On the disparity between reported and convicted cases, Tallen expressed displeasure on the slow pace of dispensation of justice for survivors of violence in the country.
She appealed to the judiciary to be proactive in prosecuting cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
She said “it is heartbreaking that out of over 3,000 reported cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, only 11 have been prosecuted.
“It is unacceptable that our children and our women will be so abused and molested, and then when cases are reported, not much has been done. We can no longer accept this; all hands must be on deck.
“It is not just the Ministry of Women Affairs that is handling this; the justice system has a major role to play and I believe that with the commitment of Mr President and the Attorney General, who is steering the inter-ministerial committee, this matter will not be left unattended.”
The minister said the issue of rape and other gender based violence had reached an alarming rate that should not be tolerated and urged the judiciary to ensure justice for survivors to serve as deterrent to others.
She explained that the technical working group was to further contribute to the National Statistical System to produce reliable, disaggregated and timely SGBV data that would respond to gender relations in divest sectors.
Giving an overview of the SGBV Data Situation Room, the Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Mr Micheal Adeniyi-Akee, said the cases include rape, physical assault, and defilement.
Some others are: emotional and psychological violence, sexual assault, child abuse.
Adeniyi-Akee, who was represented by the Data Manager, Mr Sunday Sanusi-Agbabiaka, explained that there were 742 open cases, while 188 cases were closed by family members of the survivors.
He added that “we have cases that are open and the ones that are closed. The ones that are open are about 742, so, you can imagine the number of cases that are pending in the court.
“And out of those, it is only 11 convicted cases, which represents 0.46 per cent. There is need for our justice system to be very fast in dealing with the issue of GBV.”
World Bank Representative, Michael Ilesanmi, assured support to the Federal Government in eliminating problems around women and girls.
He said that the bank was mapping out GBV services across states to roll out a GBV Referral system.
Similarly, UNDP Resident Representative, Mohammed Yahya, represented by Mr Simon Riley, Senior Adviser on the Rule of Law, reiterated the organisation’s support toward harmonising SGBV data for programming and decision making.
Also, the Director-General, National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Dr Asabe Vilita-Bashir, stressed the need to eliminate all forms of violence and harmful practices against women and girls in the country.