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Rights Commission holds 2nd sitting in Abuja over sexual/ gender based violence

NHRC holds second round of sittings on SGBV in ABUJA, commences hearing of 32 complaints

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said that there cannot be any effective solution to the problem of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) without sufficient attention to the issue of victims support and empowerment.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq. stated this at the second Abuja sitting which has 32 cases to hear after round of sittings across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

According to the Executive Secretary, “We have also understood in the course of the sittings the deep connectivity between the challenge of gender-based violence and empowerment of victims” and we found that majority of victims are people without viable means of livelihood.

Continuing, the Executive Secretary who is also the Chairman of the panel, while reiterating the need to tackle issues of SGBV head on, stated that these violations are harmful acts directed at a person based on their gender.

Ojukwu disclosed that SGBV has its roots in cultural, religious, traditional, economic, social and other man-made practices that promote gender inequality, for which he recalled necessitated the Commission to carry out series of sensitization campaign on human rights in various towns and villages across the nation.

On the first round and Pre-COVID-19 sittings, the Executive Secretary said the panel considered a total of 114 cases in six locations across five geopolitical zones with the exception of the North East.

The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria also said the first round of the sittings took place in the following locations: Abuja (North Central), Lagos (South West), Benin (South South), Owerri (South East), Kano (North West).

“In the second round, attention was shifted to specific states of mutual interest between the Commission and partners within the spotlight project without losing sight of the national spread.

“Hence, the second round, Post COVID-19 sittings held in Enugu, Ebonyi, Lagos, Rivers, Cross River, Sokoto, Adamawa and Abuja.

“The total number of cases handled in the second round will be 161 cases,” he stated.

In her statement, the Rule of Law Adviser, Office of the Vice President, Fatima Waziri-Azi commended the efforts of the Nigerian government and the National Human Rights Commission in addressing the scourge of SGBV which she noted has adversely affected women and girls in the society.

She disclosed that government is putting mechanisms in place to ensure regular training of members of the law enforcement agencies to enable them comply with laid down human rights benchmarks with regards to handling and investigating issues of SGBV in the country.

In his remarks, the representative of the UNDP Resident representative to Nigeria, Mr Simon Ridley stated that the UN through the Spotlight Initiative is working across government to address all forms of violence against women and girls.

According to him, UNDP stands with SGBV survivors and all partners who are leading the fight here in Nigeria.

“We are committed to giving women and girls a voice to promote their livelihood and freedom from all forms of violence”, he added.

According to the representative of the UN envoy, this high-level Special Investigation Panel on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence hearing is an important step on that pathway to realizing UNDP’s commitment.

Representatives of other NGO’s like Ford Foundation, WRAPPA, etc., presented their goodwill messages and pledged to support the Commission to give Justice to all victims and survivors of SGBV in Nigeria.

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