Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The federal government on Thursday restated its resolve to protect every girl child in the country against rape and violence.
The Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice, (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), maintained this position at a joint-press briefing which has the Human Rights Commission, representative of the United Nations, the Justice Ministry and Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in attendance.
The programme was tagged: Support for spotlighting the eradication of rape and other gender-related based violence in Nigeria.
Malami who was represented by the Solicitor General of the federation and Permanent secretary, federal ministry of justice, Mr Dayo Apata, assured that government would ensure quality and affordable education for every Nigerian child.
According to him, the federal government has also directed the Nigerian police to apprehend rapists as way of demonstrating its zero tolerance to rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence on the girl child.
He added that relevant government agencies have been directed to scale-up support for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
He said, “To tackle this hydra-headed menace headlong, my office is currently engaging with heads of courts, for the establishment of specialized courts for the speedy and seamless trial of rape and gender-based offences.”
Malami noted further that in order to break the cycle of such abuses, serious efforts will be exerted at not only curbing the menace but to eliminate it completely.
In his own address, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu said the Commission came to present its letter of ‘Call to Action’ to the federal government.
Ojukwu who described rape as gross violation of human rights and crime noted that victims and survivors deserved justice.
Describing the Ministry of Justice as the fulcrums through which necessary legal and policy reform can be enhance added that the vulnerable in the society should be protected.
According to Ojukwu, as a way of fighting the scourge, the Commission he said has continued to create awareness across the 36 states of the federation for some weeks now.
“We and our partners like Police, NAPTIP, the Judiciary and other organizations have been marching in the street and meeting stakeholders. “We have also been calling for the adoption of more severe approach to curb the ugly trend.” He added.
Also speaking, United Nations representative and programme manager gender and human rights, who doubles as representative of the EU Spotlight Initiatives at the programme, Onyinye Ndubuisi reiterated the UN readiness to partner with government agencies and organization to fight the scourge.
She said that the UN frowned at rape and every form of gender-based violence, adding; “No more rape. Enough is enough”
In a short message, the representative of the Nigerian Bar Association and the Vice Chairman of the Abuja branch of the association, Chioma onyenuchenya-Uko condemned the menace, lamenting that hardly would a day pass without disturbing news about gender violence in the country.
While commending the Human Rights Commission for leading the way, she pledges the NBA deliberate commitment to fighting the menace to a standstill.