FIDA Nigeria Cries Out Against the Rise in Gender Based Violence
FIDA shouts out, “STOP ALL forms of violence against persons”! Enough is Enough! The COVID-19 lockdown is not an excuse for gender-based violence!
FIDA Nigeria expresses great dismay at the continuous rise in gender-based violence cases reported during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Nigeria, often resulting in grievous bodily harm, psychological trauma and even death.
The facts of the reported cases across Nigeria are heart wrenching. Some these cases include (to mention a few):
Lagos – A 16- year old girl, Tina Ezekwe, shot to death by police; negligence leading to the death of a baby precipitated by a male partner.
Edo- A 22- year old University of Benin student, Uwaila Vera Omozuwa, raped and killed in a church.
Ondo- Tope Onifade, whose two daughters were defiled by their father who claimed the cause of their bleeding was as a result of dysentery ailment.
Osun- The headless naked bodies of a woman and her child left in a gutter.
Enugu- Baby Ebube Christy Umeh violently abused with a razor blade by a neighbour; and a woman who battered her 6 months old child with razor cuts because his father refused to marry her.
Bayelsa – A baby rescued from trafficking by his young mother.
Cross River – Chioma, a 14-year-old, raped by her landlord’s son who is a 31-year-old father of three children
Jigawa- A 12- year old girl raped by 11 men.
Osogbo- Mother tied her son in a sack and left him in her wardrobe for three days for stealing
Bauchi- A girl child bride (wife) stabbed her husband to death so she could return to her parents.
Yobe- Halima, whose hand was cut off by her husband for not taking permission to go out to attend a wedding.
FIDA condemns these daily gory tales of GBV which is indicative of a debased society bereft of a value system that emphasizes safety at home or even in worship centres, from parents, spouse or even police. This must change as the consequences and effects on the victims and their families have long term negative impact on society.
It is unacceptable that the police mandated to arrest and prosecute are presently not forth coming, leaning on compliance with COVID-19 regulations, which include social distancing in their stations and the decongestion of cells, as an excuse. They would rather push parties for a prompt settlement and compensation of the victim for an offence, regardless of the severity of such offence.
The Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015, is a landmark legislation on the prohibition of all forms of violence against persons in Nigeria. The Act prohibits all forms of violence against persons in private and public life, and provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishments of offenders. Therefore, all stakeholders should call for a stop against all forms of violence against persons especially women, children and the vulnerable in our society!
FIDA calls to immediate action the following:
The Public– Closely watch children/wards and protect them so they are not raped or abused; adults to avoid antagonizing each other, especially when there are already underlining issues with abuse; be tolerant and accommodating; report cases of violence and do not stigmatize victims or shame them, or insist that they forgive offenders so to prevent their prosecution; and stop excusing offenders claiming that it is the “devil at work”; insist on punishing offenders for their offence.
The Police– Safe guard and protect the people; keep open all gender desks at each police station to accommodate reports on domestic violence and make quick responses/intervention when called; be understanding when dealing with victims; prosecute the offenders and do not compel settlement of cases.
The Government – Provide the requisite, infrastructure, equipment etc., to ensure citizens are adequately protected; enable the police to carry out their functions; set up special dedicated courts for the trial and prosecution of gender based offenders during the lockdown to send a clear warning to all; equip and enable the Judiciary to sit regularly during the lockdown to attend to such GBV matters; provide more shelters for the care and protection of victims; enable and support stakeholders collaborative rapid response teams for GBV across states.
Stakeholders– Better collaboration and coordination between all stakeholders and provision of one-stop centres for rapid response on GBV across states.
FIDA Nigeria is committed to providing legal support to the vulnerable. So, let’s work together to ensure that all offenders are brought to justice and adequately punished in line with our laws so it serves as a deterrent to others. RAPE is certainly not a family matter; it is an OFFENCE! We all have a role to play in ending the rape culture in our society. Let’s demand accountability and through our actions, say an unequivocal NO TO RAPE!
FIDA strives to bring to an end, the violence, abuse, exploitation and violation of women and children which has become very rampant in our society, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown.
If you or someone you know is experiencing such domestic violence, please report the case or contact FIDA Nigeria’s hotline- 07088496115.
Stay Strong, Stay Safe!
Stay at home, but Stop the abuse!
Stand against rape and the culture of silence!
Signed for FIDA Nigeria
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National Publicity Secretary