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The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria is a Non-Governmental, Non-Profit Organization made up of women lawyers which was formed in 1964....
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FIDA Tells FG to Set up More Sexual Assault Centres
- Published on Tuesday, 08 December 2015 12:24
- Written by fidaadm
The Federal Government has been urged to fast-track the setting up of more sexual assault centres across the thirty-six states of the federation. The appeal was made recently by the Federation of International Women's Lawyer (FIDA),Nigeria. FIDA observed that the issue of crimes was on the concurrent list and as such advised the federal government to come up with modalities for setting up of more centers to address the high rate of sexual assault in the country.
National President, Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), Nigeria, Hauwa Shekarau made the call at the Validation meeting of J4A project-with the theme “Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of FIDA Nigeria”, held in Abuja.
According to Shekarau, "The truth is that rape is on the increase, sexual assault is on the increase, young children, old women, the list is endless". She urged the Federal and State governments to declare a state of emergency on issues of rape and sexual assault. "We have only two centers in the country where victims of sexual assault can be rehabilitated and that is grossly inefficient. Just as we are not encouraging rape and sexual assault, victims should be able to seek redress in a center and be able to reintegrate into the society.
She said: "Government at all levels should take a step further by declaring a 'State Of Emergency' on issues around rape and sexual assault, We need to see the government do that, it is an holistic way of addressing the issue. "For instance there is a case of an eight month baby that was sexually assaulted by a young man, he didn't use his sexual organ, he used his finger to sexually assault that baby and by reason of our penal code or criminal code that is not rape, it is sexual assault and the way sexual assault is captured in this is very minimal".
Meanwhile, the representative of Justice For ALL, J4A, Godwin Odoh, said the organisation's establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) in Lagos and Enugu was part of commitment in tackling the high incidence of rape and the lack of services for the survivors of sexual violence . Odoh called on the federal and state governments to replicate the establishment of such referral centers in all the thirty-six states across the country.
According to him, "Then the other one is sensitisation, because when people are in the rural communities, these things happen, what is the mechanism for them to take this things forward? How can they get justice? "There have been complaints that sometimes people get to the police station and report, there are always attempts by relations or religious leaders to settle this as family issue, it’s not a family issue, its rape and sexual assault, it’s a crime against the state, which must be punished. "And anybody who attempts to compound it, or negotiate it is guilty of felony and the person is also subject to prosecution and of course imprisonment if found guilty".