With the increasing cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) against women and even children, the Kutunku community in the Gwagwalada area council of Abuja has taken drastic steps to protect their loved ones.
The community through a partnership with a non-governmental organisation, Sexual Offences Awareness and Response (SOAR) initiative developed a by-law to checkmate the activities of criminals who tend to abuse women, girls and children.
Speaking on the by-law seen by Legit.ng, the district head of New Kutunku, Bulus Gomna, said he would ensure that every perpetrator of SGBV in the community is prosecuted.
Gomna also called on community members to join hands and work with his cabinet members to ensure that the provisions of the by-law are followed to the latter.
The provisions of the New Kutunku by-law include
1. Maltreatment of children
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In the case of child maltreatment which includes beatings, denial of food or access to school in the name of punishment, the use of abusive words that may cause emotional harm to a child, especially a girl, the perpetrator will be reported to the chief for warning
If the maltreatment continues, the perpetrator will be reported to either the Area council Gwagwalada Social welfare Department, police or NAPTIP
2. Denial of rights/resources for girls like stopping a girl from going to school just because she's a girl
In this case, the perpetrator will be reported to the chief for warning and the girl will be reinstated in school
Also, the family will be reported to either the Area council Gwagwalada Social welfare Department, police or NAPTIP if they refuse to put the girl back in school.
3. Domestic Violence ie beating of women and denial of resources
This includes the provision of what the family needs to eat by the husband. in this case, victims are expected to report to the chief and to the Gwagwalada Area Council Social Welfare Department, NAPTIP or the police
4. Rape which includes actual penetration, the use of the finger, tongue or any other object into either the vagina, anus or mouth of a woman, girl, or a child
In cases such as this, a report should be made to the chief, the police or NAPTIP. Also, the cases should be reported to SOAR Initiative for support and documentation.
5. Anybody who may try to stop the report of a case of rape or any SGBV
In a case like this, the person will be reported to the police or NAPTIP for encouraging the crime in the community.
6. Forced or early marriage
Where there is a case or intending case of forced or early marriage, the chief of the New Kutunku community must be informed timely.
The family of the affected child is to also receive adequate counselling to encourage them to halt the action.
Also, a report must be made immediately to either Gwagwalada Area council Social Welfare Department, Human Rights, police or any agency that can appropriately handle the case.
7. There shall be a reward for anyone that report a case of rape
According to the by-law of the New Kutunku community, anyone who makes a report of such a case shall be rewarded. The reward shall be determined by the chief and council
8. Other forms of sexual abuse like kissing, inappropriate touching of a child
In this case, a report must be made to the chief and the Police
9. Use of children for prostitution
The use of children for prostitution or the like of it, either by a child's parents or anyone must be reported to the chief, the Gwagwalada Area Council or NAPTIP
10. Wrong widowhood practices
Wrong widowhood practices like denying a woman rights to her husband's property must be reported to the police.
The families affected would also be sensitised on the rights of women and girls.
11. Child neglect eg chasing them out of the home because of deviant behaviour, depriving a child of food
In this case, the parents of the child or children as the case may be are sensitised and in an extreme situations, the matter is reported to the chief in extreme cases. This case should also be reported to the Gwagwalada Area Council or police
12. Forced abortion for children
Any form of forced abortion for children within the community is reported to the chief, to the Gwagwalada area council and NAPTIP.
13. Child labour, trafficking for monetary purposes, maltreatment of children
Cases of child labour, trafficking and maltreatment of children should be reported to the chief of the community immediately.
The cases should also be reported to the police, NAPTIP and the National Human Rights Commission. Further steps should be taken by informing SOAR Initiative for necessary follow-ups on the matter.
14. Cases of incest
The chief of New Kutunku must be notified should there be a case of incest in the community. Also, the matter would be reported to the Police or NAPTIP and offenders ostracized from the community.
In addition, the perpetrator is made to take responsibility for every cost of support services for the child.
15. Physical abuse that leads to injury of a child
Any act of physical abuse against any child must be reported to the chief, the Gwagwalada Area Council Social Welfare Department or police. The community leader where the incident occurred should also be informed.
16. Killing of women and girls for ritual purposes
Cases on the killing of women and girls for ritual purposes are to be reported to the police at once.
17. Kidnapping of children
When children are kidnapped or there are cases of missing children in the New Kutunku community or its environs a report should be made to the police for immediate action.
According to the district head, these practices would no longer be tolerated in the New Kutunku community.
Also, a SOAR initiative program assistant, Levi Yakubu told Legit.ng that a community mapping was carried out and data gathered show that cases of SGBV are prevalent in New Kutunku.
Yakubu further stated that the reports from the data gathered was the driving force for SOAR Initiative's decision to engage the community in various activities.
Some of the activities initiated by the organisation include roadshows, community dialogues, development of the by-law and follow-up strategies to ensure its implementation, providing counselling and psychosocial aid to survivors of SGBV among many others.
Teenagers send strong messages against SGBV in the Abuja community
Teenagers on Saturday, December 18, flooded the streets of the New Kutunku community to create awareness among residents on the fight against SGBV.
The teenagers called on parents and adults in the community to help protect their future by ensuring they are not abused or violated.
According to the teenagers, SGBV is a violation of their fundamental human rights and must be avoided.
Need for special court for SGBV cases in Nigeria
Also, a social worker in FCT had said that Nigeria lacks special courts needed to handle cases of gender-based violence.
Ngozi Ike said these courts are needed to handle cases of violence against women and girls across the country.
Ike said the establishment of such courts would speed up the trial of perpetrators of gender-based violence.