By Fortune Eromosele, Abuja

In a bid to cushion the effects of the heightened spate of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the country, a non-governmental organization, Invictus Africa and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, have developed a protocol document to stem the tide of sexual violence in Nigeria.

The documents tagged ‘Orange Pages’ and ‘Pas Model’ are holistic responses to gender-based violence in Nigeria and were unveiled at the official launch of the orange pages in Abuja.

The presentation of the documents was made to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the First Lady of Ekiti State, Mrs Erelu Bisi Fayemi, and the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission – Esq. Anthony Ojukwu, who commended Invictus Africa for the initiative to tackle and provide quick responses to gender-based violence in the country.

The document ‘Orange Pages’, has embedded in it emergency hotlines and centres for each state of the federation that can be reached for immediate action of sexual and gender-based violence incidences.

Speaking on the importance of the document, Executive Director Invictus Africa, Bukky Shonibare, stated: “At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were a lot of sexual and gender-based violence that was happening and we thought people needed help. There were many people who were getting abused but didn’t know where to get help.

“So we thought to put the orange pages together. We cued it from the yellow pages of those days, and it is basically information of responders and service providers nationwide, to offer services to those who have been sexually abused.

“What we want to achieve is that we want people to get help when they need it, when anyone has been abused whether male or female, old or young, anywhere in Nigeria, they can flip through these orange pages and wherever they may be, they can find list of service providers that will attend to them.”

She further noted that as part of efforts to ensure that the document reaches the 36 states of the federation, she said, they target the production of one million copies from now to December, 2021.

Commenting, First Lady of Ekiti State, Mrs Erelu Fayemi, said that women cannot afford to live in a society where sexual violence persist, a society where they are not safe, noting that Nigeria will not get to that stage.

She however, listed key points that would stop the prevailing trend of sexual and gender-based violence to include: “Treating structural/underlying causes of violence against women. Stop fueling practices that undermine the emotional abilities of women.

“We need to work hard on the implementation of our policy and frameworks. We need to provide resources for the treatment and care of GBV survivors. We need more collaboration between Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.

“We need a lot more robust community engagement. Every victim deserves to be called a survivor.”

In the same vein, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Rule of Law (Office of the Vice President), Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, who represented the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the epoch event, called on states that are yet to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act to do so without hesitation.

In his remarks, Country Officer of OSIWA, Udo Jude Ilo, said “For us to respond to GBV, we have to confront it holistically. And that holistic approach is the PAS Model, which stands on three thematic pillars: prevention, accountability and support, which encapsulate actions being taken by duty bearers, stakeholders, and actors.”

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