By: Adamu Aliyu Ngulde, Maiduguri
‘The Borno state ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Initiatives, British Council, funded by the European Union (EU) have called on community, religious and traditional rulers to stand against Sexual and Gender Base Violence (SGBV).
Briefing journalists as part of events to mark 16 Days Activism held at the Dujima Hotels Maiduguri, the Director Women Affairs, Borno state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Falmata Gambo said “the ministry in collaboration with Gabasawa, British Council, EU, Police and other partners have secured the conviction of 51 SGBV cases out of 4,104 cases recorded between January, 2021 to July, 2021.
Hajiya Falmata Gambo said to effectively prosecute rape cases, the ministry in collaboration with its partners are to establish additional two Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Biu and Monguno towns of Southern and Northern parts of the state, stressing that all rape cases are supposed to be reported to the Police or SARC centres within 72 hours of the incident.
She called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba to establish SGBV desk in all Divisions, police stations and outposts to fast tract prosecution of SGBV cases.
Hajiya Gambo said “the challenges we faced includes delay in prosecution of cases, interference from communities, out of court settlement, delay in reporting rape cases to SARC centres for medical confirmation and reports, lack of sensitization.”
The director while commending the Borno State House of Assembly for passing the Child Protection Act, said the Act when assented to by Governor Umara Zulum, will in no small measure address most of the challenges of prosecuting SGBV cases in the state.
Earlier, the programme Manager Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Initiatives, Mr. Oluwatoyin Salau said “our main objective is to improve general awareness on SGBV issues in the state in collaboration with the state government and Development partners in addressing the menace with emphasis on achievements recorded and challenges”.
He said since 2018, they have been working with Borno state ministry for Women Affairs, British Council, EU, the Police, ministry of Health and NAPTIP in providing support services through the Sexual Assault and Referral Centre in Umaru Shehu Hospitals, Maiduguri.
In their remarks, the representatives of British Council, Mr Emmanuel Iyagi, Fatima Usman Kida of the ministry of Justice, Imam Ba’Abba, Hajiya Aisha Ali Indimi of Women in Dialogue urged community and religious leaders to support the fight against SGBV as the fight according to them is a collective responsibility.