From Okwe Obi, Abuja
To commemorate the #16DaysofActivism, Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), has called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to punish perpetrators of gender based violence targeted at women and girls.
CHRICED’s Executive Director, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, who made the call yesterday in Abuja during a campaign, explained that the country must wake up to its responsibility of protecting vulnerable and marginalized women.
Zikirullahi referenced the gruesome killing of the Kaduna State Women Leader of the Labour Party, adding that the barbaric act exemplified the wave of violence against women in the political process.
He said CHRICED had documented reports in which police officers demand payments before a case file could be opened for them and transportation fare in order to go and arrest a perpetrator.
He said: “CHRICED strongly condemns this killing and calls on law enforcement agencies to get to the root of this murder, apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
“As a front-line human rights think tank implementing various projects, which have components focusing on the rights of women, CHRICED is in close touch with thousands of women who bear the brunt of all shades of violence, which violate their rights, impede their potential, and prevent them from using their talents to contribute meaningfully to national development.
“Through various initiatives, CHRICED and its partners have been able to contribute to addressing scores of cases, especially cases of rape, domestic violence, abandonment, and discrimination against women.
“However, notwithstanding the milestones recorded by CHRICED and other CSOs, major challenges remain in the area of getting justice for women whose rights have been violated by aggressors who unleash violence on them.
“Beginning from the Police, which is the lead institution to act as first responder to violence against women and girls, the right attitude, and the commitment to investigate, prosecute and bring perpetrators to justice, is non-existent.
“Women who are victims of sexual and gender based violence, SGBV, are frequently subjected to dehumanization and derogatory profiling.
“CHRICED has documented instances in which victims of SGBV were asked to make payments before a police case file could be opened for them, as well as other unacceptable situations in which a law enforcement officer would request transportation fare in order to go and arrest a perpetrator.
“The above reality points to a situation in which the State and its institutions fail to protect the rights of vulnerable women, particularly those who are poor and socially marginalized.
“CHRICED is concerned about this situation because it violates Section 17(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that the “State social order is founded on the ideals of Freedom, Equality, and Justice.” Section 17(2a and b) of the Constitution states that “every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations, and opportunities before the law,” and that “the sanctity of the human person shall be recognized, and human dignity shall be preserved and enhanced.
“Therefore, CHRICED calls on the government and governance actors to give meaning and life to the words enshrined in the nation’s constitution, as well as the provisions against gender-based violence in all other extant laws and international instruments.
“This is a clarion call to institutions such as the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministries and Departments charged with Women Affairs at the Federal, State, and Local Government levels, the National Human Rights Commission, the courts, and all other agencies concerned to develop and implement policies and laws to end violence and discrimination against women in Nigeria.