First lady Kebbi State, Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu has expressed support and commitment to the cause of ending rape and gender based violence in the State. Dr Shinkafi Bagudu gave the assurance while participating in a Webinar titled “Mobilizing Actions against Rape and Sexual Abuse”. The webinar which was organized by Women’s Right Civil Society Organizations in partnership with Actionaid, Nigeria and Canada brought together participants from different sectors to share experiences, assess the current situation and to create a roadmap towards ending rape and gender based violence in Kebbi State. “There’s fantastic representation from religious, civil, legal and political strata, this is exactly the platform to push for such a cause and I’m fully in support. There’s no better time than now”.
Dr Shinkafi Bagudu also assured the stakeholders of His Excellency, 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 Goodluck Jonathan and it came through concerted efforts and support from H.E Senator Atiku while he was a legislator. For someone with such passion and commitment, I’m sure it’ll be domesticated in our dear State”.
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. “Kebbi state is one of the States that have been chosen by Actionaid Nigeria and Canada to strengthen the capacity of women’s right. These issues of rape and gender based violence are everywhere, not just in Edo State in the case of Uwa or Ibadan. So far 11 states have domesticated the Violence Against Person’s Prohibition Act alongside the child rights act. The VAPP bill has passed second reading in Bauchi State with a push for its domestication in Edo State”. She further called for appropriate justice for perpetrators of rape and GBV. “When justice is served a perpetrator it serves as deterrent to those who might want to commit the same heinous crime. We want to see a committee set up on sexual and gender based violence with the key players in the State”
Hajia Rahmatu Gulma, Commissioner for Justice Kebbi State, shared key reforms the State has recorded and efforts made to create safe spaces and ensure access to healthcare by victims of GBV; “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, 0000, the police also must take this up immediately”. In the same vein, Dr. Aisha Nana Adamu, a public health practitioner who shared the traumatic experiences victims of rape and gender based violence go through, hoped for the creation of safer environments for victims of GBV. “One of the difficult tasks of my profession is attending to victims of sexual assault. When it happens to minors, parents are reluctant to bring the children to the hospital sometimes and also the girls themselves. Many of the cases of sexual assault we see are relatives or friends of the relatives. It will be nice to create an environment where victims and their families can feel supported, access healthcare and to report in a timely manner”.
Dr Fatima Adamu “Tallafin Mata” while berating the high cost of marriages particularly in the northern region these days opined that marriages should be made less expensive to encourage intending men and women get married. Dr Adamu who moderated the session called for total reorientation of our family values such that women and girls are educated, economically empowered and taught independence and our boys are taught to respect and protect the women folk.
In bringing the session to a close, Dr Shinkafi Bagudu emphasized the need to take the advocacy beyond social and mainstream media; into the interiors of the most remote communities in the State. “Social orientation messages have to get to the grass root, traditional and religious leaders need to get to the core of this issue. Progressives and conservatives must find a middle ground to work together, tell them it is a punishable crime to have carnal knowledge of a 5 year old or to marry a 10 year old”. The Child health specialist thanked Kebbi State Ministry of Justice for the legal reforms they have been championing and also thanked various participants, CSOs; FIDA, Actionaid, NUJ, Traditional Council and religious clerics for lending their voices to such a noble cause.
Muhammad Mikail Head, Communications