Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has indicted the federal government over failure to fully implement its mandate against ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
Mrs. Buhari, who said the time to do so was now, said the rising and unabated cases of SGBV which led to a declaration of the state of emergency by the federal government on 10th of June, had continued to be of national concern.
She stated this yesterday at the Second annual conference of the Governors’ Wives Forum, where she said that every state must see the need to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, and called for the establishment SGBV centres were cases should be reported in every senatorial district and local government.
The president’s wife who said in the pursuance of justice for survivors of SGBV, justice delayed is justice denied, called for the establishment of special courts to expedite action against cases of GBV and decimate all obstacles against the education of the girl-child.
“As a result of this entire advocacy, the NGF declared a state of emergency against GBV on June 10, 2020. HE President Muhammadu Buhari supported the calls for urgent action through the establishment of an inter-ministerial Presidential Task Force on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, which is yet to be fully implemented. It is now time to do so.
“The Nigerian governors’ wives have worked very hard over the past year to follow up on all that is required for an effective GBV response across states in Nigeria.
“Even though it is encouraging to note that at least 30 States have signed the VAPP, the remaining six need to be encouraged to do so as soon as possible. The lives of women and children continue to be at risk.
“Efforts need to be ramped up to provide adequate shelter and care for victims of GBV. Every state should have a shelter, ideally every local government or at least Senatorial district should have one.
“It is also very important to have sexual assault referral centers or safe spaces where victims can receive the required immediate and long-term support.
“We need special courts where applicable, for speedy and effective handling of rape and GBV cases. Justice delayed is justice denied. If victims do not get the justice they deserve, they will never have closure and we would like for them to be known as survivors and not just victims.
“The girl-child in Nigeria will continue to be a victim of exploitation and missed opportunities, if we do not remove all obstacles they face in getting a decent education, and becoming productive members of society. An educated girl will become a wife who is in a position to add value to her family.
“State governments and the donor community need to ensure that there is adequate funding for GBV interventions. Without this, the lofty laws we are trying to put in place will not be implemented.
“We all have a role to play in ensuring that we address this menace. We have an obligation to use whatever platforms we have to make a difference. Policy makers, elected officials, religious leaders, traditional rulers, academics, family members, we all have a role to play. Let us synergise our efforts for maximum effectiveness,” she said.