Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV): Engaging The Stakeholders – NBA Bwari’s Experience

Chinyere Moneme (candidate for Secretary in the upcoming elections) rubbing minds with Dr Fatima Waziri DG NAPTIP on behalf of the NBA Bwari branch on advancing the rights of women and children.

The coming into force of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) (VAPP) ACT 2015 has contributed immensely to the criminal justice system in Nigeria.


However, our recent engagement as a committee on SGBV has really pointed out that the state has more than it can chew addressing this monumental challenges.

It is noteworthy that substantial part of my career has been dedicated to the prosecuting cases, particularly sexual gender offences and I have been seriously perturbed about the astronomical increase of the sexual offence, more so, the challenge it posed to the prosecuting authority and other stakeholders in the justice administration.

Occupying a vantage postion as the Chairman, SGBV Committee, NBA Bwari has given me unique opporunity to interact and engage the stakeholders in this area toward addressing these challenges.

My committee has a rewarding parrtnership with NAPTIP which to my mind, plays significant role, investigating and prosecuting cases of violence against persons as delegated by the VAPP Act 2015.

Shockingly enough, NAPTIP jurisdiction is not only limited to the FCT, but the agency is not specifically funded to carry out this statutory responsibility. Relying on what the DG, NAPTIP told our committee at our visitation, the task is enormous as the agency is already overwhelmed with the task of fighting the traffiking offences. It is sad that the same budget allocated for addressing the trafficking is being shared to address the additional burden imposed by the VAPP Act on the agency. This is not fair enough for the agency should have statutory independent budget for funding the Violence Against Persons cases for the purpose of a robust awareness creation, seamless investigation and prosecution of the sexual offences in the FCT.

Our engagement with Bwari General Hospital’s management and Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) was an eye opener to the mounting challenges against the effective implementation of the VAPP ACT 2015, for the hospital and the centre do not have adequate financial, human and material resources to deal with the pronounced cases of sexual assault in the FCT. It is obvious that the centre is not supported by budget and it relies on the voluntary donations of the external bodies to function. While, we appreciate the efforts of RoLAC towards the provision of facility and drugs to keep the centre functioning, we recommend that the centre be more funded either through the primary health care system to enable it, functioning. The goverment intervention in providing functional forensic lab will help alot in the area of the evidence gathering. Having said that, it is imperative for easy access to the centre for more units of the same be created at the strategic points or all the judicial divisions of the FCT. There is also need to intesify awareness of SARC in all media by all the stakeholders. Our recent SGBV community outreach in Bwari community revealed this reality. The feedback from the womenfolk at the Emir Palace Bwari revealed that most of the residents do not know the existence of the centre. I must admit that NBA along with the other partners should develop a workable and sustainable framework on the awareness creation for SARC and the role it plays in crime detection and treatment of the victims of the sexual assault among others.

We are looking for a more robust engagement in the future with all the stakeholders, most especially, NAPTIP, Ministries of Women Affairs, Health, Education, Justice, and National Human Rights Commission.

Be that as it may, it is imperative to review our penal laws in line with the current realities. It is suffice to say that there is pressing need to look at adequate protection and compensation for the victims of the sexual offenders. We are looking towards the National Judicial Institute (NJI), one of our worthy partners and the NBA Bwari is relying on the Administrator of NJI’s promise to create opportunity for us as a branch to address the conference of Women Judges at the NJI judges’ conference on the need to intesify advocacy and lobby of the National Assembly on the legislative reforms in the area of review the defence of provocation in our penal law. Moreover, ensuring the sentencing of the offenders by the courts accomodating and providing for the post-judgement compensation for the victims in the difficult circumstance as it has been done in some countries in the East Africa.

It is my believe that the NBA as a stakeholder has a greater role to play in creating awareness, advocacy, and penal reforms, all geared toward nipping in the bud sexual violence in Nigeria.

Chinyere Moneme
Chairman, SGBV Committee, NBA Bwari Branch. She is an aspirant for the post of Branch’s Secretary, NBA Bwari.

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