Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, the wife of the Kebbi State Governor, has expressed support and commitment to the cause of ending rape and gender-based violence in the state.
Bagudu gave the assurance while participating in a webinar entitled “Mobilizing Actions against Rape and Sexual Abuse.”
The webinar, organized by Women’s Rights Civil Society Organisations in partnership with Actionaid, Nigeria and Canada, brought together participants from different sectors from across the country.
They shared experiences and assessed the current situation with a view to creating a roadmap towards ending rape and gender-based violence in Kebbi State.
Bagudu said: ‘There are fantastic representations from religious, civil, legal and political strata. This is exactly the platform to push for such a cause and I am fully in support. There’s no better time than now.’
She assured the stakeholders of Senator Atiku Abubakar Bagudu’s readiness to support the cause through signing and implementation of relevant laws.
‘The VAPP Act was the last Act passed during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and it came through concerted efforts and support of my husband when he was a legislator.
‘For someone with such undying passion and commitment, I am sure it will be domesticated in our dear State,’ she assured.
Niri Gorit, Coordinator of Actionaid, Nigeria, conveyed the readiness of her organization to support an end to rape and gender-based violence in Kebbi State.
She said: ‘Kebbi State is one of the states that had been chosen by Actionaid, Nigeria and Canada to strengthen the capacity of women’s Rights Groups.
‘These issues of rape and gender-based violence are everywhere, not just in Edo State, in the case of Uwa or Ibadan.
‘So far, eleven states had domesticated the Violence Against Person’s Prohibition Act, alongside the child rights act. The VAPP bill had passed second reading in Bauchi State, with a push for its domestication in Edo State.
‘When justice is served on a perpetrator, it serves as a deterrent to those who might want to commit the same heinous crime.’
Hajiya Rahmatu Gulma, Commissioner for Justice, Kebbi State, shared key reforms the state had recorded and efforts so far made to create safe spaces and ensure access to healthcare by victims of GBV.
According to her: ‘Here in Kebbi State, we have reviewed our laws, section 259 of the Penal Code prescribes life imprisonment.
‘We have also come up with this bill that has taken care of the procedure for taking care of victims of rape, particularly children, physically and mentally challenged children.
‘Once a victim is taken to your hospital, the doctor is duty-bound to treat and report to the police, failure to do this the doctor is fined N500,000, while the police must also take this up immediately.’