Wife of Kebbi State Governor,Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu has expressed concerns over lack of domesticated laws protecting girls and women from rapists across the country.
Bagudu stated this during an online emergency meeting with the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen, and the wife of Ekiti State , Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Dr Hajo Sani; SSA to President Muhammadu Buhari, Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi, NCSWS President, DG Human Rights Commission, Dr Tony Ojukwu and other CSO’s, top women and girl child advocates in Nigeria.
The meeting, was in response to the growing spate of rape cases and gender- based violence in the country and the recent rape and murder of Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa; a Microbiology student of the University of Benin who was raped and murder
Bagudu who lamented the lack of domesticated laws to protect women and girls from these vices in some states, including Kebbi, called for more deliberate and concerted efforts towards curbing the menace especially with the prevailing public outcry.
According to the statements made available to newsmen in Birnin-Kebbi on Friday by Nancy Anyadoh
Technical Assistant, through Special Adviser to Kebbi State Governor on Media, Mallam Yahyah Sarki, Bagudu’s wife was quoted to have said that, “We have the attention of relevant stakeholders, let us take advantage of the current momentum and get things done. It is time for action”, she said.
The statement also quoted Minister for women Affairs,who convened the meeting to have said that, the meeting was centred on assessing the current situation, sharing ideas, developing a roadmap for addressing further escalation, and pushing for the domestication of the violence against women Acts across 10 states yet to do so.
“It was an urgent call to assess the growing issues of domestic and gender-based violence and violence against women, girls and other vulnerable groups, and also to advocate for the passing of the gender and equal opportunity bill currently before the National Assembly.
The Minister, while thanking the First Ladies for their respective support to the Ministry of Women Affairs in achieving its mandate berated the slow nature of court processes in prosecuting culprits of rape and called for the establishment of special courts saddled with the responsibility of trying and convicting of rape and other GBV suspects, a comprehensive data collection on gender-based violence and violence against women, girls and other vulnerable groups and a more concerted effort to curbing the menace in Nigeria and building safe and conducive homes and environments for our women and girls.
The statement also quoted Dr Hajo Sani, the SSA to President Muhammadu Buhari to have stressed the need to set up a presidential task force and the Honourable Minister to table the issues at the Federal Executive Council meeting, pledging full support of the wife of the President to the cause.
NCWS and other CSO’s unanimously agreed with the move for the domestication of the VAP Act and the Equal Opportunity Bill, stressed the need to strengthen relevant security agencies and hold them responsible in enforcing relevant laws to the latter.
In the same vein, Dr Aliyu of the Legal Aid Council lamented the upsurge of these issues of GBVs and rape and on behalf of the Legal Aid Council pledged to work with the Presidential Task Force and offer free legal support to indigent Nigerians in seeking redress and ensuring they get speedy and adequate justice.
Amongst other resolutions reached at the meeting, the stakeholders unanimously resolved that there should be declaration of State of Emergency on Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria, Media Strategy to sustain public outrage, Sustain momentum on the streets.
They also resolved that there should be domesticating and Implementation of Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Act in all 36 states and to sanction States that are yet to do so.