Solicitor-general of the federation and permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, has said all School Related Gender-based Violence (SRGBV) in Nigeria should be tackled decisively.
The solicitor-general, during the inauguration of the Committee on Legal Pathway for the Prosecution of Perpetrators of School Related Gender-Based Violence on Monday in Abuja, said the discourse about SRGBV has been on the front burner in different fora as an emerging menace that can no longer be ignored and one which must be combatted decisively and squarely.
“SRGBV as the name implies, school related gender-based violence occurs in schools, around school or as a result of school relationship.
“It is perpetrated based on gender norms or stereotypes and enforced by unequal power dynamics in the school environs.
“It occurs in multifarious dimensions and includes physical violence, sexual violence and psychological violence, teacher-perpetrated abuse, excessive punishment, sexual harassment or sexual coercion, bullying by peers, rape, physical assault, sexual assault and et al.
“SRGBV is pervasive in many schools globally and constitutes both a crime and a violation of the human rights of children and therefore, should be stopped at all costs,” she said.
Jeddy-Agba established the Committee on SRGBV to develop a Standard Operating Procedure as a standard working tool and guideline to guide key stakeholders in Basic Education Institutions across Nigeria to respond to cases of SRGBV when they occur.
“The committee will, therefore, work together with the SGBV Response Unit to facilitate and develop this document to provide a routine procedure to respond to these cases in schools.
“This opportunity is critical, it is the result of the vision, the will, the commitment to create a safe space for our children and Nigeria. I therefore, charge you to give these the focus and seriousness it deserves because we owe it to our children, and our nation to resolve this task”.
Mr Stephen Onyekwelu, the representative of UNESCO, added that gender-based violence cannot be eradicated without education.
“Education is very good in trying to change one’s negative norms, attitudes and behaviour and we are doing several things to see how our educational system can address the issue of gender-based violence globally.
“We have worked with various secondary schools in the FCT establishing school gender classes, we supported the revising of the National Basic Education curriculum to improve some components of gender-based violence issues.
“We are working directly with the Federal Ministry of Education, currently revising the National Healthcare Policy for Secondary Schools which will be presented at the upcoming National Council of Education,” he said.