FIDA GOMBE – on 11th June 2020, FIDA Gombe Visited the Attorney General of Gombe State, he agreed to grant FIDA Gombe a Fiat to prosecute GBV cases; Establish a Gender Desk at the Ministry of Justice Gombe State; push for accelerated passage of the VAPP ACT in Gombe State and push for the Review the definition of Rape in the Penal Code to be in tandem with that provided in the VAPP ACT.
FIDA Rivers organized a press conference\walk on Zero tolerance for Rape, defilement and other forms of abuse\violence against women and children. Also visited the Police Headquarters.
FIDA BAYELSA, in collaboration with various stakeholders, organizations, CSOs/ NGOs, embarked on a peaceful protest walk against SGBV.
They visited the ministry of Justice where the Solicitor General/ Permanent Secretary, Mr. Preye Agedah addressed us on the support of the ministry to fight this menace. Also visited the Judiciary, where the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Kate Abiri received them in her Chambers and pledged the support of the Judiciary in the fight against all forms of SGBV in the state. Finally, visited the state police force headquarters, where the commissioner of police assured FIDA of the preparedness of the police to handle all cases of SGBV expeditiously and with all seriousness. It was indeed a successful outing.
A CALL FOR PROMPT ACTION TO CURB THE ALARMING INCREASE IN GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (GBV) CASES IN NIGERIA
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION,
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE,
CHIEF JUDGES OF THE STATES OF THE FEDERATION,
SPEAKERS OF THE STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY,
ATTORNEY GENERALS OF THE STATES OF THE FEDERATION,
COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE OF THE VARIOUS STATE COMMANDS AND
It is no more news that there has been a tremendous acceleration in the number of gender-based violence cases, particularly the abuse and rape of women and the defilement of babies and children across the States of Nigeria. With these evil and unpleasant happenings in our communities, our children, girls, and women are no longer safe.
FIDA Nigeria makes this clarion call to major key players for a more holistic and aggressive approach in tackling this serious challenge across Nigeria.
FIDA Nigeria strongly objects to this evil trend of the incessant abuse and sexual molestation of women and children and demands speedy and decisive action.
The government needs to declare a state of emergency on gender-based violence so it is tackled forthwith, most efficiently and effectively across all states of the Federation.
Rape and Defilement are CRIMES! If you do the Crime, you must be prosecuted and adequately punished for the crime. There must be NO Compromise nor the settlement of any such cases!
FIDA’s mandate is to protect, preserve, and promote the rights of the vulnerable in society, especially the indigent women and children who are often preyed upon. We must heed their cry and come to their immediate aid.
- All States should ensure that they have in place the enacted laws or have reviewed their laws to deal with this menace adequately. We call for the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, the Child Rights Law, and other related laws. All states that have not adopted the VAPP ACT should with utmost urgency adopt the Act.
Also, we advocate that the enabling structures and facilities that will ensure the effective implementation of the VAPP Act be put in place, this includes and most importantly the setting up and efficient running of the Implementation Committee provided for by the law.
- The Police who have the responsibility to arrest, investigate these cases must be well equipped to fight this menace diligently to secure convictions that will serve as a deterrent to offenders.
FIDA insists on the arrest, prosecution, conviction, and punishment of offenders. We request the setup and activation of ‘Gender desk’ in all police posts or stations manned by trained personnel and the free opening of case files for Gender-Based Violence cases.
- We call on the Chief Judge’ in the different States to designate a special fast track court to handle Gender-Based Violence matters; while also issuing practice direction on GBV cases and children related matters to ensure we expedite the prosecution of such matters in court. We are also appealing for the establishment of the family court in line with the provision of the Child Rights Act/ Law and the provision of all machinery to ensure it begins operation speedily.
- We also call on the Attorney General of the respective states to graciously grant FIATs without unnecessary bureaucratic protocols to persons/ bodies (such as FIDA) desirous of aiding this fight against sexual predators, so they can prosecute such criminal cases directly. You can also set up specialized units in the Ministry of Justice to handle GBV matters.
- Protection and support for victims of GBV, including shelters in all states.
- We advocate for the establishment of a Sexual Referral Center (one-stop-shop) with Rapid Response Teams attached, comprising the police, doctors, lawyers, social welfare officers, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. To reduce the victim trauma and aid the preservation of evidence for the effective prosecution of perpetrators.
- Free medical (including Psycho-analysis) treatment for victims of rape/defilement.
- Opening and operation of the Sex Offenders Register across all the states of the Federation in line with the provision of the VAPP Act/ Law.
- A prompt collaborative effort by all stakeholders, we must work together to fight this evil successfully.
- The classification of CSOs and NGOs who directly work on gender-based violence matters as ‘Essential Services’ during such pandemics will be very productive; besides budgeted funding to support their work in this fight.
FIDA Nigeria calls on ALL to speak out against these evil and atrocious acts meted out against defenceless women and children in our communities. We must rise on their behalf, and demand for justice. Faith-based institutions, community leaders, must also speak out and condemn such acts.
The shaming, victimization, and stigmatization of Victims of Gender-Based Violence must stop. Rather let us shame the ACT and the perpetrators while encouraging victims to speak out and report all Abuses.
FIDA is committed to undertaking more advocacy and sensitization on matters of GBV and calls on all to join the fight against GBV
We stand united with other NGOs and CSOs to say NO to this evil permeating our communities.
This is a call to prompt action; because Justice delayed, is Justice denied!
For FIDA NIGERIA:
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, Cross River State Branch carried out a peaceful demonstration over all forms of Sexual Abuse and Violence against Women and Girls and reiterate her commitments to protecting, preserving and promoting the rights of women and children.
FIDA Calls for the Confirmation of Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as Substantive President of The Court of Appeal
FIDA Nigeria expresses her gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari for reappointing Honorable Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as the acting President of the Court of Appeal. We are also glad to read that this re-appointment is because of the hard work and meritorious service of the Honorable judge.
Pursuant to Section 238(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Honourable Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem has been acting as the President of the Court of Appeal as of right, is the “most senior Justice of the Court of Appeal” following the retirement of the Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as substantive President of the Court.
FIDA Nigeria continues to support credible hardworking, meritorious women to break the glass ceiling around them. Having served diligently and upon reaching the pinnacle of their careers, women should not be deprived of their right to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
FIDA Nigeria notes that Hon. Justice Dongban- Mensem’s tenure in an acting capacity was only extended, we do not wish to go into the legality of this action or it’s adherence to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we, however, are worried that this trend is one too many, the recent case in Cross River State and Gombe State is an example.
FIDA Nigeria believes and have confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari, to act on the recommendation of the NJC by forwarding the name of Hon. Justice Dongban-Mensem to the Senate for confirmation, as the substantive President of the Court of Appeal. This will be well applauded as a reward of hard work, having discharged her duties diligently and satisfactorily and will also be a proof of adherence to the Constitution and the tenets of fairness and justice.
For FIDA Nigeria:
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National Publicity Secretary
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
FIDA Webinar 2: “Stakeholders Discourse on Protecting Women and Children during the Covid-19 Pandemic”
As part of FIDA Nigeria’s intervention strategies during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, a Second WEBINAR was hosted on May 29, 2020, themed “Sharing experiences: Stakeholders Discourse on Protecting Women and Children during this Pandemic”
The purpose was to bring together key stakeholders to enable them share their experiences so we can collectively adopt new strategies to protecting the vulnerable during these precarious times
- Jacinta Ike (FCT SGBVRT)
- Ijeoma Amugo (NAPTIP)
- Dr. Minnie Oseji (MWAN)
- Chief Magistrate Adefunke Anoma (Family Court)
- Dr Fatima Akilu (NEEN Foundation) and
- Evelyn Membere-Asimiea (FIDA Nig)
Key take home points and expectations going forward included the following:
- The need for greater Sensitization on the VAPP Act
- Ensure prosecution of all GBV cases; no settlement
- Need for more collaboration by all stakeholders
- Break the culture of silence and stigmatization
- Take advocacy to the men and youth to stop VAW
- Position ourselves to be there for increased numbers of defiled and or abandoned children, teen age pregnancies etc.
- The need for greater counseling for offenders and victims
- Physcho – social intervention necessary; punishment must be combined with treatment
- More one stop intervention centers to be set up across the states
- Hotlines for easy access this period
- The need for the training of paralegals to assist at the grassroots for quick intervention
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden,
FIDA Nigeria CVP, the hostess for the program encouraged greater collaboration and quick responses by all stakeholders when called upon despite the several challenges of the lockdown.
The WEBINAR was moderated by Mrs. Eliana Martins FIDA Nigeria National Publicity Secretary. A total of one hundred and seventy persons were virtually in attendance.