- The Attorney General of the Federation has thrown his weight behind moves to ensure the protection of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence
- Abubakar Malami said first responders to SGBV cases must be adequately trained on handling survivors and ensuring the all that is needed to deliver justice is put in place
- For the AGF, all evidence gathered in relation to SGBV cases must be preserved by first responders in the matter
To ensure that all the perpetrators of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence across Nigeria are made to face justice, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has called for the training of specialist prosecutors and investigators of such crimes.
Addressing participants at the maiden mock court trial on SGBV in Abuja which was attended by Legit.ng reporter, Malami said all those involved in the handling of such cases must be adequately trained to ensure justice is delivered.
The mock court is part of the activities for the 16 Days of Activism Against SGBV organised by the British Council's Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) program in partnership with the European Union and the ministry of justice.
Represented by the director of public prosecution of the ministry of justice, Abdularhim Shuaibu, the AGF said it is imperative to train those who serve as first responders to survivors of SGBV.
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The AGF said the first responders need to be trained on evidence collection and storage, intelligence gathering and reporting, evidence analysis and chain of custody preservation.
He also stressed the need for victim protection and the establishment of more Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) all over the country
“The absence of SARC is akin to retraining the survivors of SGBV, this is at the very core of my ministerial pursuit and I am seriously working on an Access to Justice based SARC which will evolve in due course."
Providing an all-inclusive service to ending SGBV
He said SARCS is a platform that can provide an all-inclusive integrated service across ministries, departments and agencies for survivors of SGBV.
Also speaking, the chairperson for SARCs, Joy Ezeilo, said the initiative has continued to provide free and immediate emergency treatment, counselling for victims of abuse and assault since its establishment in 2013.
Ezeilo said the SARC Network has grown from a single SARC in Lagos to 32 SARCS across 19 states in Nigeria assisting over 22,000 survivors of sexual assault combined.
She also said that the RoLAC programme would support the call and effort to establish specialised courts for SGBV by holding these mock specialised SGBV courts.
According to her, this will model what survivor centred SGBV court processes and proceedings would look like in the context of Nigeria’s legislative social policy environment.
"It will provide the opportunity to model police investigation and prosecution scenarios that support or compromise justice for survivors."
Minister canvases name-shaming of perpetrators of SGBV
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the minister for women affairs and social development had suggested name-shaming for perpetrators of SGBV.
Dame Pauline Tallen said that to solidify the fight against SGBV, it is important that the perpetrators of the crime face the full wrath of the law.
She also stiffer punishment would help curb the continued spread of the violence against women, girls and boys in Nigeria.
FG, British Council line up activities to end SGBV
In addition, the British Council in collaboration with the ministry of justice and NAPTIP are working to ensure the protection of survivors of SGBV.
The British Council said it has also lined up a series of activities to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2021.
Some of the activities include Counselling and Legal Clinics, SGBV mock court trials, Public Presentation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in Nigeria (VAPPA) Annual Report among many others.