FG Mulls Special Courts to Tackle Gender Based Violence

FG Mulls Special Courts to Tackle Gender Based Violence

..As Labour Leader, Issa Aremu Wants It Treated as a Pandemic The Federal Government says it is working on the establishment of specialized courts and Judicial Divisions to focus on sexual and gender-based violence in a determined move to tackle the menace. This is coming against the backdrop of calls by Vice President, Industrial Global

..As Labour Leader, Issa Aremu Wants It Treated as a Pandemic

The Federal Government says it is working on the establishment of specialized courts and Judicial Divisions to focus on sexual and gender-based violence in a determined move to tackle the menace. This is coming against the backdrop of calls by Vice President, Industrial Global Union, Mr Issa Aremu, on the federal government to treat the rising cases of gender based violence in the country as a pandemic

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN made this disclosure while speaking at a virtual session on “Special Event on Gender Dimensions of Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism” organized by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime as part of events commemorating the International Women’s Day, held at Kyoto, Japan on March 8.

Malami reveals that Nigeria has also developed a National Action Plan on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on the Women, Peace and Security agenda which is relevant to efforts to respond to the needs and promote the role of women in efforts to address terrorism

Lamenting the rise in kidnap cases by terrorist groups, who commit sexual and gender based violence against women and girls, the Justice Minister said that  preventing these crimes and bringing those who commit these acts to justice remains a priority of the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the current administration also knows well that giving a voice to women is an important aspect of development as women are important agents of positive change.

He said “The Nigerian National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” notes the important role women play not only as policy-makers and law enforcement officers, but also as wives and mothers in preventing violent extremism and in de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.

“Another emerging area of grave concern is the abduction and kidnapping of teenagers in boarding houses for ransom.

“The perpetrators targeted this group of people possibly to scare them from schooling. This is indeed a sad situation.

“The Nigerian armed forces and law enforcement agencies are working day and night to combat insecurity, terrorism, kidnapping and abduction of people in the country.

“We must work to prevent both male and female perpetrators from carrying out these acts and support those who have been victims,” the Minister said.

Malami recalled that last year he inaugurated the Inter-Ministerial Management Committee on Eradication of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence with the hope that these will be important tools in helping Nigeria to address the crimes.

He stressed the importance of collaboration with relevant stakeholders, of which the Complex Case Group under the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice leads in the efforts to bringing suspected terrorists to justice.

He says this also works to include sexual violence related charges against Boko Haram suspects in collaboration with the military, police and other security service investigators from the multiagency Joint Investigation Centre, in North-East Nigeria.

This is contained in a statement released on Mondayby Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, special assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office to the Attorney General of the Federation.

The statement said in partnership with UNODC as well as the European Union, the Federal Government launched the “Nigeria Training Module on Gender Dimensions in the Criminal Justice: Response to Terrorism”.

According to him, the Module provides practical guidance based on Nigeria’s legal framework as well as international and African regional laws and good practices to support Nigerian officials in addressing the issues of gender in the counter-terrorism context.

Also speaking on the issue, Vice President, Industrial Global Union, Mr Issa Aremu, has criticised the rampancy of gender-based violence in the country, calling on the federal government to treat the menace as a pandemic. He specifically urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the issue as a pragmatic approach to tame it, adding that women should be accorded a pride of place.

Aremu, a former governorship candidate of Labour Party in the 2019 general elections in Kwara State, stated this in Ilorin at the official launching of Hamdalat Aremu Foundation (HAF) to mark 2021 International Women’s Day.

He noted that gender-based violence should be made public health hazard while perpetrators must be named and shamed with the opening of the register for them. Aremu, also a former general secretary, National Union of Textile, Tailoring and Garments, challenged African women to partner with progressive forces to transform the continent from mass poverty to guarantee prosperity for all.

The former deputy president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the attack on women should not be seen as an assault on them alone but a collective problem that needed all hands to be on deck.

Aremu observed that women stood at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, as health care workers and caregivers, adding that the relative success in curtailing the spread of the virus was due to the sacrifices of women.

He also tasked the government to address rising insecurity in the country and treat it as an emergency situation like Coronavirus. The frontline labour leader also warned against criminal profiling, saying that the media should stop giving undue attention to criminals.

Said he, “There are three major challenges facing Nigeria today. The first is security, the second is security and the third is security. Anytime you go to the media, you hear about banditry, kidnapping, and others. So, my advise is that we should handle all these challenges exactly the way we have handled COVID-19. We should treat them as pandemic including gender-based violence against women rapists.

“If you call it what it is, then you will be able to have the correct attitude to manage it. If we can tame COVID-19, I think we should be able to tame banditry and kidnapping. But with all the best effort, I also advise the media that when the going is tough for the nations, that is the time we need to be more objective in our reporting. Nigeria media is one of the best on the continent.

“But increasingly, I think we have been placing objectivity with subjectivity. And my fear is that we try to magnify more imperfections while we downplay when there are good performances. I want to counsel the media to balance their reports.

“We should not give oxygen to criminals. Don’t profile criminals. Criminals are criminals. Nigeria’s Constitution is clear. We are citizens of Nigeria. Constitution doesn’t say I am a Muslim or Christian or Fulani or Hausa. It is not known to law. Media cannot legitimize that”, Aremu said.

Also speaking, the Chairperson, Women Wing of the State Council of NLC, Mrs Asmau Apalando, advocated castration of any man caught for molestation and rape, insisting that rapist does not deserve protection. She took a swipe at some men, who maltreat their wives and added that they needed to be brought to book to serve as a deterrent.

“Any married man seen maltreating his wife should be exposed for appropriate sanction to be meted on him”, Mrs Apalando said.

Other speakers at the event including the Chairman, State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Umar Bayo Abdulwahab; and Chairman, the state chapter of Labour Party, Mr Abdulkareem Onagun, applauded the contribution of Aremu to women emancipation.


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