By Favour Nnabugwu
Out of the total number of 6,460 Gender Base Violence, GBV, cases reported in the country, only 33 perpetuators have been convicted in Lagos, Abuja and other states, according to the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen,
Tallen in Abuja yesterday, spoke to the Media on “one-more-case- too-many of GBV”, following the case of Osinachi and the most recent case in Jos, Plateau State, involving Husband, Samuel Mathew, who butchered his wife, Mercy Samuel.
According to her, “Let me give you the validated data for just five states: Lagos, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Cross River and FCT, we have 5010 reported cases. Fatal cases 160; closed cases 231; open cases 963; convicted cases out of the 5,100 is 16. The most recent data are: reported cases 6,460, fatal cases 229, closed cases 295; open cases 1443; convicted cases 33.
Among other things, she pointed out that she would ensure that psychiatric tests are made compulsory as part of marriage requirements in the country.
She, however, bemoaned the slow implementation of Violence Against persons prohibition, VAPP, Act in the state, urging the Federal Government, likewise the state governments to put in place standards that allow for expeditious investigation and judgement on instruments of domestic violence, GBV, including cases involving sexual harassment.
She said: “We can refer to it as a step first, as the first step to ensure that we begin doing this to our aim. I will initiate a conversation with the Honourable Minister of Interior to ensure that psychiatric test cases are made compulsory as part of Marriage Requirements in the country.
“The cabinet is made of the society and everyone calls from a family. Mothers are the bedrock of the family and custodians of family’s traditions. We must play a part as more and more than our male children to become able to become better adults who can take on marital responsibilities without feeling insecure.
“We must put an end to the culture of reinforcing male dominance in our society. Our society must move with the realities of the time. We can no longer tolerate wickedness, greed envy, and malicious acts under the guise of culture.
“In this regard, I want to appeal to all leaders in our society to be more sensitive with the way they execute their activities and utilise the powers bestowed on them. The mindset and formation of our young ones request support from the entire society, from teachers, to doctors, to health care providers, to fathers, mothers, leaders, community leaders, older siblings and other relations.
“I am happy to know that Yobe state, has joined the league of states that had assented to the child’s right up at the violence against persons prohibition act. This brings the total number of states that have passed the child’s rights act 27, and the VAPP act to 34. This is a good signal that we are unanimously committed to. But our problem I repeat again is the implementation of these laws.
“Even as we speak another woman is being violated and we do it has been disposed of all her life investment offers have been thrown out without hope for a better tomorrow. I am reaching out to governors and commissioners of women affairs of all the affected states to give the much needed attention to these cases.
“Our traditional and religious institutions must help us in this mission. The woman groups in the society have a big role to play. In all of this, we must remain focused and resolute to ensure that perpetrators will face the full word of the law that governs our dear country.”
She urged the Media to intensify advocacy against GBV while taking the needed precautions in their reportage.
“I want to appeal to the media to continue to spotlight and carry the messages to the wider society. More advocacy needs to be done. The naming and shaming of victims under the VAPP Act should be made public; no rapist wants to be seen. If we expose those rapists, we will be able to address and reduce the number of these cases that are coming in, day in and day. out,” she said.
The minister said further that president Mohammadu Buhari, state governors and other concerned ministers have displayed genuine interest and are ready to deploy all needed resources to fight the menace.
“President Mohammadu Buhari is committed to seeing that we end gender bed violence in the state. His open participation at the town hall during the spotlight, was a clear indication of his commitment to end GBV.
“The 36 state governors, I held a meeting with them and all of them declared zero tolerance and state of emergency to GBV, on 10th June, 2020. But, what are we seeing in all the states: so many states have domesticated the VAPP Act and the child right act, only two left , but the is not on the laws but the implementation is my greatest concern because the numbers are on the increase.
“If we implement these laws, it will serve as a deterrent. They are just too many for us to keep quiet. The 9th National Assembly is equally committed to this course. The Senate president, the speaker have shown zero tolerance and they made open statements to this. But, we want to see perpetrators of these cases being punished to serve as a deterrent. So, many cases are left unanswered; young children, young girls”, she said.