By Agnes Nworie
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria has called on federal government and stakeholders at all levels for prompt actions to stop the rapid increase of gender based violence cases in Nigeria especially in the face of covid-19 lockdown.
The FIDA Country National President, Barr Rhoda Tyoden made the call during their nationwide road walk, sensitization campaign and visit to stakeholders in Abakaliki.
The National President represented by the state Chairperson, Barr Grace Chima recommended strict implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition law (VAPP), the child rights law and other related laws in all states of the federation as the best measure to curb the increase in gender based violence cases in Nigeria with especially reference to rape.
Barr Rhoda expressed displeasure that after domestication of VAPP law which stipulates life imprisonment for rapists in some states of the federation including Ebonyi since 2018, it is yet to be implemented in justice delivery.
The group visibly worried about effects of the anomaly on the victims took the campaign and quest for collaboration to palaces of Ezeogo Okorie Ekumankama and Azu Anya of Amangwu and Ebunwana Edda autonomous communities in Afikpo South Local Government Area, the state Chief Judge, Justice Anselem Nwigwe, the Commissioner of Police Philip, Sule Maku, Chief Roy Nweze and the Attorney general of the state, Hon Cletus Ofoke.
All the stakeholders pledged their supports to ensure the menace is tackled headlong.
The group marched along major streets in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital with placards with the following inscriptions: ‘Don’t View Women As Sex Toys’, ‘Show No Mercy To Rapists’, ‘Real Men Don’t Rape’, ‘Women Need Respect Not Rape’, ‘No Justification For Rape’, ‘Protect The Girl Child’, among others.
“We advocate for opening and operation of sex offenders register across all states of the federation in line with the provision of the VAPP law. We solicit for free medical (including psycho analysis) treatment for victims of rape/defilement. Protection and support for victims of GBV including shelters in all states.”
“We call on the Attorney general of the respective states to graciously create Fiats without unnecessary bureaucratic protocols to persons/bodies such as FIDA desirous of aiding this fight against sexual predators, so they can prosecute such criminal cases directly. You can set up specialized units in the ministry of justice to handle GBV matters.
“We call on the Chief Judge, in the different states to designate special fast track courts to handle gender based violence cases, while also issuing practice directives to ensure expedite prosecution of such matters. The victimization and stigmatization of victims of Gender based violence must stop. Rather let us shame the Act and the perpetuators while encouraging the victims to speak out report all cases of abuses.”
“FIDA Nigeria calls on all to speak out against these evils and atrocities meted out against defenceless women and children in our communities. We must rise on their behalf and demand for justice because justice delayed is justice denied. Faith based institutions, community leaders and leaders at all levels must also speak out and condemn such evil acts “, Barr Rhoda stated.