ABUJA: Nigeria recorded 3,491 reported cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) between March 2020 to March 2021, with only 11 convicted cases nationwide.
Out of the 3,491 reported cases, 107 were fatal cases, 188 were closed cases, 742 were open cases, with only 11 convicted perpetrators which represents 0.46 per cent, statistics from the National Gender-Based Dashboard initiated by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs [FMWA] with support from EU-UN Spotlight Initiative disclosed.
To address this, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in partnership with the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, inaugurated the Strategic Knowledge Management National Technical Working Group On Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria [SKMTWG].
The inauguration of the Strategic Knowledge Management National Technical Working Group On Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria aims to address the gaps in GBV data harmonization to enhance the success of the National GBV Data Situation Room and Dashboard and to support policy and decision making to end GBV in Nigeria.
Also, the Group is structured to advise the FMWA in the multi-sectoral SGBV national response and brings together technical expertise from different sectors, donors, development partners and civil society organizations. It also provides the highest level of coordination of monitoring and evaluation of programmes and surveys on SGBV in Nigeria with the objective of ensuring that programmes are responsive to the national indicators.
Speaking at the event which was held at the Ministry’s premises, Dame Tallen termed as heartbreaking and unacceptable the 3,491 reported cases of GBV with only 11 convictions in a year, noting that the figure of convicted cases has exposed the justice system in Nigeria.
According to her, “It is unacceptable that our children and women will be so abused, molested and when cases are reported, not much has been done.This has exposed the justice system and I believe that with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami who is chairing the Inter-Ministerial Committee, this matter will not be left unattended”.
She further disclosed that the Ministry is getting reports from every state, which indicates that the data is nationwide, adding that out of every 10 rape cases, only 1 is reported in Nigeria—a practice which she said, is totally unacceptable.
The Minister who noted that rape affects the entire system and not just the victims, expressed the belief that a lot more will be done, and the judicial system and police will wake up to their responsibilities.
“I appeal to the justice system to rise up and ensure that no justice is delayed because justice delayed is justice denied. Thousands of cases are being swept under the carpet, we must act fast, our children need justice and we cannot continue sweeping such bad cases under the carpet”, she said.
While urging states to speedily ensure the domestication of the Child Rights Act and the Violence Against People Prohibition (VAPP) Act to address the issues being reported across the states, she also urged the inaugurated National Working Group to put in their very best to stem the tide of gender-based violence.
Although in the last few months, good progress has been made in the goal to end violence against women and girls including the set-up and launch of the National GBV Data Situation Room and Dashboard, however, the increase in violence against women and girls due to Covid-19, shows that, in terms of GBV data harmonization nationwide, there remains a lot to be done to achieve the overall vision of a Nigeria that is free from GBV.