The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday called on victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) to speak out and document their evidence properly.
The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, made the call on Tuesday in Enugu at the ongoing 2nd round of Public Sitting of the Special Investigation Panel on SGBV.
Mr Ojukwu said the Federal Government through the commission was committed to end SGBV but needed the people’s cooperation especially victims and those close to them to come forth with complaints.
He said “It is clear that SGBV is becoming a pandemic just as the COVID-19 pandemic and the commission needed our people to break the culture of silence and fear of stigmatisation.
“There is a need for victims and those close to them to speak out as well as ensure that whenever SGBV occurs, there is documented evidence kept intact and properly.
“For issue of sexual abuse or rape, the victims needed to quickly visit health facility to get medical expert take medical sample of the evidence and document same for future reference in a panel like this or at the court,’’ he said.
He said that the commission through the panel could offer some remedies to victims of SGBV.
Mr Ojukwu said “The remedies to SGBV can be tendering of genuine apology especially for minor cases.
“Again, the perpetrator or perpetrators paying damages in terms of monetary compensation.
“On a serious SGBV case and where those involved in the whole issue cannot be settled through our panel mediation; it will be referred to the law court for adjudication. The panel is not a law court.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NHRC would treat a total of 119 SGBV cases in the sitting with petitions of reported cases coming from seven states and the Federal Capital Territory (26 cases).
The states are, Enugu (30), Lagos (15), Ebonyi (12), Cross River (9), Rivers (16), Sokoto (7) and Adamawa (4).
A total of 113 complaints across the six geo-political zones were received and treated during the first round of Public Sitting of the Special Investigation Panel, with South-East accounting for the highest number of 35, Mr Ojukwu said. (NAN)
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