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Victims’ support, solution to sexual crimes — NHRC boss

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Ojukwu

By Tordue Salem, Abuja

Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Barr. Tony Ojukwu, has advised that to address the problem of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), sufficient attention must be paid to the issue of victims’ support and empowerment.

Mr Ojukwu stated this at the second Abuja sitting which has 32 cases to hear after a round of sittings across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

According to the Executive Secretary, “We have also understood in the course of the sittings the deep connectivity between the challenge of gender-based violence and empowerment of victims” and we found that majority of victims are people without viable means of livelihood.

Continuing, the Executive Secretary who is also the Chairman of the panel, while reiterating the need to tackle issues of SGBV head-on, stated that these violations are harmful acts directed at a person based on their gender.

Ojukwu disclosed that SGBV has its roots in cultural, religious, traditional, economic, social and other man-made practices that promote gender inequality, which he recalled necessitated the Commission to carry out series of sensitization campaign on human rights in various towns and villages across the nation.

On the first round and Pre-COVID-19 sittings, the Executive Secretary said the panel considered a total of 114 cases in six locations across five geopolitical zones with the exception of the North East.

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The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria also said the first round of the sittings took place in the following locations: Abuja (North Central), Lagos (South West), Benin (South-South), Owerri (South East), Kano (North West).

“In the second round, attention was shifted to specific states of mutual interest between the Commission and partners within the spotlight project without losing sight of the national spread. Hence, the second round, Post COVID-19 sittings held in Enugu, Ebonyi, Lagos, Rivers, Cross River, Sokoto, Adamawa and Abuja. The total number of cases handled in the second round will be 161 cases”, he stated.

In her statement, the Rule of Law Advisor, Office of the Vice President, Fatima Waziri – Azi commended the efforts of the Nigerian government and the National Human Rights Commission in addressing the scourge of SGBV which she noted has adversely affected women and girls in the society.

She disclosed that the government is putting mechanisms in place to ensure regular training of members of the law enforcement agencies to enable them to comply with laid down human rights benchmarks with regards to handling and investigating issues of SGBV in the country.

In his remarks, the representative of the UNDP Resident Representative to Nigeria, Mr Simon Ridley stated that the UN through the Spotlight Initiative is working across the government to address all forms of violence against women and girls.

According to him, UNDP stands with SGBV survivors and all partners who are leading the fight here in Nigeria. “We are committed to giving women and girls a voice to promote their livelihood and freedom from all forms of violence”, he added.

According to the representative of the UN envoy, this high-level Special Investigation Panel on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence hearing is an important step on that pathway to realizing UNDP’s commitment.

Representatives of other NGO’s like Ford Foundation, WRAPPA etc presented their goodwill messages and pledged to support the Commission to give Justice to all victims and survivors of SGBV in Nigeria.

Vanguard News Nigeria 

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