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Sexual Violence: Groups call for more synergy to ensure prosecution of offenders

Access Bank

Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) and Save The Child Initiative (STCI), have solicited for increased synergy among stakeholders to ensure proper prosecution of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), perpetrators.

The groups made the call on Monday in Sokoto, during an end of year review on eradicating violence against women and girls in Sokoto State, organised by WRAPA.

The meeting was also partly sponsored by EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project.

Mrs Yemisi Nathaniel, the project Coordinator of EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, led the participants to review all activities within the year, highlighting impacts and areas of concern.

Nathaniel said that the initiative was aimed at working with vulnerable groups to identify their challenges and establish linkages to tackle cases of GBV.

“We are working with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), working on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

“The idea is to work with vulnerable groups to be able to identify their capacity and strengthen same; we are emphasizing on women movements.

“It is a multi-stakeholders’ effort, where we give opportunities for them to speak out and to begin to look at where we are in SGBV.

“We intend to raise women advocates working together to eliminate violence against women and girls, leaving no one behind,” Nathaniel said.

She emphasised that the CSOs invited were those closer to the grassroots, adding this was to achieve better results.

Nathaniel called on them to redouble efforts on educating citizens on appropriate response to diverse issues.

Also, the Chief Executive of STCI, Mr. Abdulganiyu Abubakar, said no fewer than 426 cases of GBV were recorded from January to November in Sokoto State, stating that this was an indication that the crime was moving at an alarming rate.

“State actors need to do more, because many cases were covered up, settled, or unreported in the society.

“Actions are needed to discourage the culture of silence.

“Sexual abuses occur in offices, schools, homes, markets and other places,” Abubakar said.

The STCI executive called on Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, to declare a state of emergency on SGBV to ensure increased attention, funding, prosecution and other commitments.

“Quite a number of cases are being prosecuted, but you cannot compare lawyers hired by perpetrators to State Counsels.

“Let people be informed on how many cases had been disposed of, those pending, convicted, and discharged periodically.

“Federal Government agencies should also be accountable for their respective efforts,” Abubakar said.

He, however, lauded the establishment of Nana Khadija Referral Center, which would cater for survivors and assist in tracking and proper prosecution of offenders.

A Participant and who is physically challenged, Khadija Bello, said perpetrators were capitalizing on the vulnerability of those living with disabilities by sexually exploiting them.

Bello, 27, and a 400 level Education Chemistry student at Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, recalled how a crippled girl was sexually abused and infected with HIV/AIDS.

She noted, however, that many of such cases often occurred due neglect by family and poor community concern for people living with disabilities.

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