By Stanley Onyekwere
In order to effectively tackle Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) rocking the society, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls (AEIG) advocated for more coordination across agencies and institutions response to the inter-agency coordination, in ensuring that victims promptly access care, protection and justice.
AEIG also noted that there is still the need for some law enforcement officers and health workers to be sensitised and re-oriented on zero tolerance for SGBV, especially in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Executive Director of the NGO, Mrs. Abiodun Essiet, made this call during a press briefing on its baseline study report on SGBV in FCT, yesterday in Abuja.
Abiodun said a recent primary and secondary data conducted study by the AEIG, had revealed that various forms of SGBV are prevalent in the Territory, but with enormous variant in records gotten from relevant institutions and agencies.
She explained that the study focused on how traditional rulers handle SGBV and how many cases were reported from January 2020 to December 2021, in five out of the six area councils in the FCT.
She added that the area councils studied include; AMAC, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Abaji and Kwali, while data was collected using key informant interviews, which revealed some nuanced gaps in the SGBV response in the FCT.
According to her, “the study revealed that there were disability insensitivity as well as poor knowledge and adoption of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act standards among SGBV response points.
“Evidence also support urgent protection needed for persons with disability and traditional rulers are considered key to ending SGBV especially in our rural communities.
“There is need for more coordination across agencies and institutions responding to SGBV.
“It is also important for traditional and religious leaders, be trained on best ways of handling these cases.
“There is also need to improve SGBV surveillance around children, for at least 44 per cent of SGBV is experienced by children who are usually incapable of reporting early.”
Also, AEIG Executive Director opined that it was important for government at the local, state and federal level, to take responsibility of making budgetary allocation to handle issues regarding SGBV.
She added that concerted efforts must be made to provide shelter homes for victims, as it would assist them in getting their lives back.
Similarly, Chairman, Nigeria Association of Social Workers, FCT Chapter, Yahaya Isah, added that capacities of traditional rulers must be strengthened to address SGBV cases in their communities.
Isah, who is a social worker Abaji Area Council, also called on victims, parents and traditional rulers to get acquainted with the VAPP Act, in order to understand how to seek justice when such cases arises.
On his part, Gabriel Onyali, Chief Intelligence Officer, SGBV unit of VAPP at the the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), decried the high prevalence of SBGV in the nation’s capital.
He disclosed that NAPTIP has stepped up measures tackle the menace, with more visibility especially at the Area council level, to bridge hitherto widening communication gaps in handling the menace.
Also, there were goodwill messages from the police, social welfare, community leaders and health institutions and Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs).