Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) yesterday said it has received over 113 cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) within the six geo-political zones with South-east having the highest record.
Besides, the commission said it’s working on a recommendation to the federal government through the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as part of his request for immediate steps to arrest the scourge in the society.
Briefing participants at the public sitting organised by the Special Panel on SGBV in Nigeria for the South-south geo-political zone in Benin City, capital of Edo State, NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu Esq., said of the number of complaint received, South-east accounted for the highest number with 35, representing 30 per cent, North-central 19, North-west 17, South-south 26, South-west 12, while the North-east has the lowest number of four.
He said the disclosure was coming on the hill of stakeholders’ call for more enlightenment to be carried out to encourage victims to speak out.
Ojukwu said the panel was constituted after a complaint received on April 26, 2019, when armed security personnel led by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) under the auspices of the FCT joint task force raided night club and the streets of Abuja.
“The essence of this SGBV panel is to check the scourge of sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria and increase access of Nigerians to the service of the commission to seek for accountability where there is evidence to indicate that any officer or official or any individual is involved in the act of sexual and gender based violence.
“I am using this opportunity to commend the complainants and the public for the courage to lodge their complaints and submit memoranda to this panel despite some reported cases of intimidation.
“We assure the public that the commission will adhere to the principles of fair hearing in discharging its functions and will not stand idle and watch while the fundamental human rights of citizens are being trampled upon and violated by law enforcement agencies, entities or individuals,” he said.
Ojukwu, who said the panel has completed its sitting in Abuja, Lagos, Owerri and Kano, commended the turnout at the South-south.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in Benin City have expressed regret that in spite of the painful experiences, getting the victims to speak out has been the biggest hindrance to the fight against the scourge of sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria.
Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Edo State chapter, Mrs. Iryn Omorogiuwa, described SGBV as a “terrible scourge” that victims needed to be encouraged to speak out.
To Edo State Commander, National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs Ijeoma Uduak,
many of the victims get more abused because of their refusal to speak out.
Represented by Mr. Ronald Adigwu, the commander called for more public enlightenment against the closure.
On his part, AIG Zone 5 of the Nigeria Police, Mr. Paul Yakadi, who was represented by ASP Joseph Ikponmwosa, described SGBV as the biggest challenge against humanity in the country.
Also, Mrs. Grace Eseka, Edo State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), represented by Ausin Odile, said the agency would continue to partner with the NHRC in the area of enlightenment to stem SGBV.