The Kaduna State Government has reiterated its resolve against all forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV), particularly for those who engage in any form of rape, the State Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajia Rabi Salisu, has said.
This is just as she said that male rapists will be subjected to surgical castration as punishment while a female rapist will undergo bilateral salpingectomy.
The Commissioner stated this during a press conference as part of activities at a Gender-Based Violence Stakeholders Meeting/Press Conference organised by the ministry in collaboration with Centre for Integrated Health Programs (CIHP).
According to the Commissioner, the punitive measures were contained under the Kaduna State Government Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPPL), 2018, adding that the law followed a lengthy process of advocacy, lobbying and awareness raised by civil society organizations in the state in collaboration with relevant government agencies.
Also speaking, Dr. Austin Azihaiwe, the State Technical Lead for CIHP, in an interview shortly after the briefing, said the day marked 16-day activism against GBV which was also referred to as ‘Orange the World Campaign’ which began in 1991.
“The essence of these activities is to bring all stakeholders together and harness their resources and capacity to ensure that the fight against GBV is made more impactful in our communities.
“Beyond the presence of the key stakeholders, other community members are here and the aim is to educate stakeholders on how to report GBV cases and enlighten ourselves on the essential services available for GBV survivors.”
Similarly, Mr Hosea Bako, CIHP’s Gender Integration and Mainstreaming Lead for Kaduna State, also mentioned that CIHP, as part of its activities, engages in facilitation and referral of GBV cases.
“Part of our mandate is to provide preventive services through facilities like the Sexual Assault Referral Centers and Community Based Organisations particularly, Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which is important to prevent HIV,” Bako said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, however, said the reported cases of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) have been notably on the increase in Kaduna State since the passage of the VAPPL in December 2018, which she said could probably be attributed to increased awareness about VAWG and also the availability of the law.
She also disclosed that the state has witnessed a rise in cases of gender-based violence according to the National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Data Situation Room and dashboard for prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria, adding that a total of 832 cases have been reported in 2023 so far.
She said the 16-day of activism which started from the November 25 to December 10, which is known to be International Days for the Elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, a period she said provided a time to stir up action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
“25th November is designated as the Orange World Day to End Violence against Women Campaign. The color orange symbolizes a brighter future, free of violence, It also serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence and it is therefore used as the color of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,” she stated.
The commissioner further disclosed that every year, the UNiTE Campaign focuses on a specific theme, adding that this year’s theme was “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against Women and Girls”.
She said the campaign urged the citizens to show how much they cared about ending violence against women and girls by sharing the actions undertaken to create a world free from violence towards women and girls, while some level of progress has been made in this campaign to end violence against women and girls through the VAPPL, some challenges still exist.
The Commissioner identified some of the factors encumbering the implementation of the law in the state to include; Slow uptake of the law characterised by prosecutors not applying the law to reported GBV cases, VAWG cases are reported but not charged using the VAPP Law as other laws – Penal Code and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law take precedence over the VAPP due to stiffer penalties in those laws than the VAPP.
”Others included; Undue pressure on survivors and/or families to accept out of court settlements by community is also a major hindrance, in addition and poor awareness amongst citizens and service providers, delays in prosecuting cases by the Police and the courts also pose a barrier to access to justice by survivors and victims of VAWG.
“It is therefore imperative to strengthen the justice system, intensify GBV case findings, provide crucial clinical and non-clinical services to survivors of GBV while improving access to these crucial services, addressing the challenge of poor coordination, absence of a harmonized platform for reporting, and lack of capacity to manage Gender-Based Violence data will contribute largely to ending gender based violence,” she added.
According to her, it was important to address the difference in reporting tools and the upload of data on the National GBV dashboard as this will bridge the gaps in the campaign.
By Isaiah Benjamin
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