Nigeria has expanded the number of Sexual Assault Referral Centers across the country from three clinics in three states to 11 clinics in 10 states, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Mr Osinbajo disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a 2-Day National Conference on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBD) Response in Nigeria held on Thursday in Abuja at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall.
The event was organised by the Rule of Law Advisory Team in the Office of the Vice President in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, among others.
According to the vice president, the case for treating women and girls with equality and dignity is a self-evident one as women account for a significant part of the nation’s talent pool; as do young people below the age of 18.
He said that Nigeria’s progress and prosperity were greatly affected by its ability to safeguard its women and children.
Mr Osinbajo said that Nigerians must never become accustomed to condoning the abuse of its most vulnerable people or to turn a blind eye to exploitation.
He said that a number of institutions in the Nigerian society – social, cultural, religious – were complicit in the perpetuation of these forms of abuses.
The vice president said that government’s share of the burden of responsibility was clear, especially considering that it had the monopoly of the law enforcement role regarding gender-based violence.
“Some of the steps this administration has taken in the past three and a half years to address violence against women and children include the work of the Rule of Law Advisory Team in Office of the Vice President collaborating with relevant agencies and non-governmental organisations working in the area of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the enhancement of reach and access of their protective services to victims.
“The team is responsible for giving support towards the establishment of Gender-Based Violence Response Teams across the States.
“These teams ensure that survivors have swift access to the right service providers. As a result of the activities of these teams, today, we have a better understanding of the coordinated approach that is needed to prevent and effectively respond to gender violence.
“Nigeria has in the past two years expanded the number of Sexual Assault Referral Centers across the country from three clinics in three states to 11 clinics in 10 states and counting.
“These Sexual Assault Referral Centers ensure the provision of quality forensic, medical, psychological, legal and aftercare services to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
“Happily, we now have more States adopting laws and policy guidelines for holding perpetrators accountable through the rule of law.’’
He said that the stakeholders were currently working on a uniform set of Standard Operational Guidelines that show simple steps for effective response across the country.
According to him, the federal government will continue to interact with service providers and policymakers to make sure that legal frameworks such as the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015, were fully enforced.
He commended the partners–World Bank, USAID, the British Council, the UN, UNFPA, WHO, Pathfinder International, Save the Children, Women Africa, Soar Initiative, PIND, BElemaoil and Air Peace for identifying with GBV causes.
On his part, Ketil Karlsen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that the union was fully committed to curbing sexual violence in Nigeria.
He said that the EU would support efforts aimed at checking gender-related violence.
The event attracted relevant representatives from the 36 states of the country. (NAN).
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Lassa Fever kills one, five infected in Kebbi
The Kebbi State Government on Sunday confirmed one death from six cases of Lassa Fever in the state.
Dr Assad Hassan, Epidemiologist at the state Ministry of Heath, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi, that the cases were recorded between February and April.
Hassan told NAN that four of the victims were from Birnin Kebbi; while the remaining two were from Bunza Local Governmment Area (LGA) of the state.
“The persons confirmed to be infected with the disease are between 23 to 65 years, and they include four males and two females,’’ he said.
According to him, one of the female patients was the one that died within hours of arrival at the Federal Medical Centre in Birnin Kebbi.
He said the blood sample taken from the deceased tested positive to Lassa fever.
“The medical doctor that attended to the deceased was also infected with the fever but has been treated and discharged from hospital,’’ he added.
Hassan further explained that the last confirmed case was on April 27; and refuted reports that two children had died last week as a result of the fever.
“In response to the outbreak, there has been continuous sensitisation of health care workers on Lassa Fever detection and infection, prevention and control measures within the hospital setting.
“Similarly, advocacy, social mobilisation and community engagement has been carried out in all the 21 LGAs of the state,’’ Hassan said.
The epidemiologist also advised communities to keep food and drinking water in rodent-proof containers and to also bring sick family members to the hospital early enough for treatment. (NAN)
Court sentences kidnapper Evans’ 2 Gang Members to 41 years in prison
Two former members of billionaire kidnapper, Evans’ gang have been sentenced to 41 years imprisonment by court.
During an Ikeja High court sitting in Lagos State on Monday, witnessed Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo sentenced the convicts, Kelvin Emenike Ukoh and Emeka Obasi for the abduction of one Ugoje Jude, a shipping agent, and his staff, Miss Piriye Gogo in August 3, 2012.
The convicts were members of the kidnapping gang headed by billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans. They were arraigned in 2013 alongside three others: Uche Igbani, 28, Chibuzor Osuagwu, 33 and a 36-year-old woman, Onowu Ngozi, on a 14 count-charge bothering on conspiracy, kidnapping, armed robbery and murder.
Ugoje and another staff, Piriye Gogo were kidnapped by the gang who and were later taken to an unknown destination by their leader, Evans.
Miss Ugoje narrated the entire ordeal before the court including how she almost got raped and how she was saved by the police patrol she saw and flagged after the three men took away Jude while holding rifles.
Jude also testified in court, he said his abductors initially ordered him to pay N10m for his release but after negotiations, they accepted N5m.
Justice Taiwo after listening to the testifiers convicted and sentenced Ukoh and Obasi to 5, 15 and 21 years for conspiracy, kidnapping and armed robbery respectively, while the other three; Igbani, Osuagwu and Ngozi were discharged and acquitted by court.
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