BY HENRY TYOHEMBA AND ABUBAKAR YUNUSA, Abuja
As Nigeria celebrate 60th independence anniversary, a group of civil society organisations have called for the establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs) in a every State, backed with a coordinated, sustainably- funded support a system.
Addressing journalists on the government’s responses to the spate of sexual and gender-based violence in Abuja yesterday, the groups also called for stablishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs) in every state, backed with a coordinated, sustainably-funded support system.
According to them, “On the eve of the 60th anniversary of our independence, this is the time to intensify our demands to ensure that there is nationwide domestication, resourcing, and implementation of both Acts.
“We, therefore, call on all citizens to engage their legislators and the state governments to prioritise the protection of their citizens, specifically women and girls and expedite action on the domestication of the VAPP and Child Rights Acts.”
Speaking on behalf of the groups, Chioma Agwegbo also stressed the need for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act of 2015 and the Child Rights Act of 2003 in all states of the federation while also calling for the criminalization and prompt state-led prosecution of SGBV cases within a reasonable time, regardless of requests or interference by the victim’s family or interested parties.
The groups include TechHerNG, working with Girl Child Africa, Connected Development, Enough is Enough Nigeria, Stand To End Rape, SilverChipFox, Yiaga Africa, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, Education as a Vaccine, ActionAid,Women Advocate Research and Documentation Center.
They stressed that the Child Rights Act (2003), on the other hand, provides protection for every Nigerian child against any form of abuse, including child labour, early marriage, and access to a free and safe education.
Also speaking, Hamza Lawal, the Chief Executive Director Connected development said there is need to
stand behind women and girls to overcome challenges confronting them.