The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Edo State Branch has kicked against gender-based violence (GBV), as statistics from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) showed that of its 1,059 cases in court, 205 pertained to GBV cases with 4-10 of such cases originating from Police case files.
Declaring the FIDA week open with the theme, “Changing the Narrative of Gender-Based Violence: A Multidimensional Approach, “Chief Judge, Edo State, Hon. Justice Joe Acha represented by Justice Geraldine Ono Imadegbelo said violence against women, girls, and children should be treated under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law. He called on all facets of the justice system to look into and correct the rationale for giving life imprisonment to a single perpetrator of rape but handing over twenty-year imprisonment for those involved in gang rape which was a more grievous offense.
The DPP, Kingsley Odabi Esq while reeling out data at its resource stated that there was a geometric rise in the pattern of offense with cases of parents violating female children; adults and grandfathers violating children 3years old and less prevalent in society hence the recommendation to stop GBV through his call for a gender management system to be put in place; Liaising with the legislature to enact laws passed; empowerment of women in all the Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDA’s); Getting Judges to buy into the FIDA campaigns and endorse such; Development on the education curriculum to focus on raised lapses to effect corrections.
Earlier in her welcome address to stakeholders, legal luminaries and representatives of organizations, CSO’s, NGO’s and the media at the FIDA occasion, Chairperson Edo FIDA, Mrs. Violet Oghogho Olumese stated that apart from counseling and rendering Pro bono services to indigents, FIDA was poised to change the narrative in incidents of GBV through reliance on the VAPP Law as domesticated in Edo State in 2021. She urged stakeholders to ventilate and come up with solutions that could help at curbing the Hydra-headed monster ravaging society,
In her keynote address,” Changing the narrative of gender-based violence, multimedia approach, ” former FIDA Chairperson and Permanent Secretary (PS) Ministry of Art and Culture, Iryn Omorogiuwa quoting world statistics on GBV stated that every minute one out of three women gets abused. She said this was accompanied by other forms of dehumanization and a lack of respect for the women folks, especially on issues relating to traditional practices and human trafficking in which women are the main culprits who violate the rights of other women.
Apart from cyber bullying which she frowned at for its ability to tilt victims over the edge leading to suicide, she also mentioned family laws governing inheritance which she observed sent wrong signals which engendered violence and harassment hence the call to participants to look beyond the justice sector by making personal efforts to change perception through restoring, reintegrating victims of GBV in society and creating a zero violence state.
She, therefore, called for the regulation and control of money in circulation, empowerment of youths, and prescription of maximum punishment for perpetrators of GBV, also, blowing the cover of perpetrators from the point of arrest to conviction to serve as a deterrent to others.
Professor Evelyn Uwa Edosomwan presented the paper, “Resolving the concept of feminism and gender equality in contemporary Nigeria while Professor Job Okhioma Odion presented the paper, ” An assessment of the legal framework for engendering women participation in politics in Nigeria which was closely followed by discussion segments and a robust question and answer session.
FIDA Edo State Branch in collaboration with other professional bodies, CSOs and NGOs organized a peaceful protest walk against the incessant rape, defilement and all forms of violence against women and children.
FIDA Edo Chairperson, Iryn Omorogiuwa and leaders of other bodies held a press conference to decry the increasing rate of Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
The peaceful protest walk started from FIDA Edo Secretariat to Ministry of Justice where the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Prof. Yinka Omorogbe received and addressed the protesters and subsequently joined the protest to Edo State the House of Assembly where the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye received and addressed all protesters.
The protesters requested for the implementation of the VAPP law, Child’s Rights Law and other related laws and also demanded for a special court to prosecute Sexual offence cases and other related offences.
Further request was made on Mr. Speaker to make budgetary provisions for NGOs and CSOs who work with survivors of sexual assaults.
The Honourable Speaker Edo State House of Assembly and the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Edo State assured everyone that they will put all machinery in place to facilitate the amendments of these laws as quickly as possible as its implementation will curb cases of rape and all forms of violence against Women and Children.
FIDA Nigeria, Edo State Branch distributed items as palliative to indigent women in the society to alleviate the hardship occasioned by the novel Corona virus pandemic and also issued press statements decrying the increase in domestic violence and child abuse owing to the stay at home directive as a precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19.
FIDA Nigeria, Edo State Branch visited the Chairperson Egor Local Government Council in commemoration of International Women’s Day. The visit Climaxed at Ediaken market popularly known as Uselu Market in Benin city to sensitize women and men about Gender Equality .
FIDA Nigeria Edo State Branch in commemoration of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence organised a Sensitisation Seminar with Students of Benson Idahosa University Okada on the 28th November 2019.
The Seminar was a huge success as there was a robust interactive session with the academic staff, students and FIDA members.
Also in the early hours of the day, FIDA Edo had a sensitisation with the police about their duties of protecting a Rape Victim to get justice.