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NGO organized town hall meeting to stand against SGBV

By: Adamu Aliyu Ngulde, Maiduguri

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Gabasawa, British Council, EU, Borno Government Called On Community, Religious leaders to Stand Against SGBV

The Borno state ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Initiatives, British Council, funded by the European Union (EU) have called on the community, religious and traditional rulers to stand against Sexual and Gender Base Violence (SGBV).

Briefing journalists at a Press Conference as part of events to mark 16 Days Activism held at the Dujima Hotels Maiduguri, the Director Women Affairs, Borno state Ministry of women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Falmata Gambo said” the ministry in collaboration with Gabasawa, British Council, EU, Police and other partners have secured the conviction of 51 SGBV cases out of 4,104 cases recorded January, 2021 to July, 2021.

Hajiya Falmata Gambo said to effectively prosecute rape cases the ministry in collaboration with it’s partners are to establish additional 2 Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Biu and Monguno towns of Southern and Northern parts of the state, stressing that all rape cases are suppose to be reported to the Police or SARC centres within 72 hours of the incident.

She called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba to establish SGBV desk in all Divisions, police stations and outposts to fast tract prosecution of SGBV cases.

Hajiya Gambo said “the challenges we faced includes delay in prosecution of cases, interference from communities, out of court settlement, delay in reporting rape cases to SARC centres for medical confirmation and reports, lack of sensitization.”

The director while commending the Borno state House of Assembly for passing Child Protection Act, said the Act when assented by Governor Umara Zulum will in no small measure in addressing must of the challenges of prosecuting of the SGBV.

Earlier, the programme Manager Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Initiatives, Mr. Oluwatoyin Salau said “our main objective is to improve general awareness on SGBV issues in the state in collaboration with the state government and Development partners in addressing the menace with the emphasis on achievements recorded and challenges”.

He said since 2018, we have been working with Borno state ministry for Women Affairs, British Council, EU, the Police, ministry of Health and NAPTIP in providing support services through the Sexual Assault and Referral Centre in Umaru Shehu Hospitals, Maiduguri.

In their remarks, the representatives of British Council, Mr Emmanuel Iyagi Fatima Usman Kida of the ministry of Justice, Imam Ba’Abba, Hajiya Aisha Ali Indimi of Women in Dialogue urged community and religious leaders to support the fight against SGBV as the fight according to them is a collective responsibility.

Borno State Government has said that a total of 4,104 cases of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) have been recorded in the state between six months (January – July, 2021).

The state government also said the non availability of gender desk in most of the police stations in the state to fast track investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases and issues has been one of the challenges.

The Director of Women Affairs, Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Falmata Gambo Hamza disclosed this during a press conference held in Maiduguri on Friday.

The press conference was organized by Gabasawa Woman and Children Empowerment Initiative in collaboration with the British Council and European Union as part of the activity to mark the 16 days of activism on World Human Rights Day.

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Falmata Hamza explained that out of the 4,104 cases recorded, 3,805 were female victims and 237 cases were male victims.

She added that: “Although, there was an increase in reporting of SGBV cases and issues, increased awareness and sensitization through stakeholders engagements, campaigns and increased prosecution of SGBV cases have resulted in the prosecution of 51 cases and 51 perpetrators were convicted between January and July 2021”.

She maintained that some of the challenges also include late reporting of SGBV cases, interference in the communities in GBV cases and delay in prosecution of perpetrators of SGBV cases in the state, among others.

Also speaking, Fati Mustapha coumsellor from Gabasawa urged parents and guardians
to be vigilant on their wards.

On his part, the Program Manager, Gabasawa Initiative, Mr. Oluwatoyin Salau said the activity was held to improve the general awareness on SGBV issues in the state and the collaboration of the state government and development partners in addressing the menace with emphasis on the achievements recorded and challenges confronted of SGBV in Borno State as the key objectives of the event.

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Similarly, the representative of The British Council, Mr. Emmanuel Iyaji, who condemned the sprate of Sexual Gender Based Violence in Borno, said the 16 day of activism is to combat violence against women and girls towards making them know their rights and encourage them to seek for justice .

He urged the public to join the crusade in the fight against SGBV in the society, stressing that, such threats destroy the society and women as well as children’s life.

Representative of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Inspector Pogu said police in the state has been assisting in handling SGBV classes in Borno State especially, through the SARC Center newly established in the state.

He explained further that police has worked cordially with the CLO, Human Rights groups and NAPTIP as well as NGOs on SGBV cases.

He, however, warned that the police would not compromise neither relent in its efforts to arrest, investigate and prosecute any suspect involved in such act.

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