FIC Report (Abia State) – A one day Summit on “End Gender Based Violence” (GBV) has ended with a call on all Abians to do everything humanly possible to put an end to menace of Gender Violence in the State.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State says the State as well as GBV Desk Office at the State Ministry of Justice.
He assured that a Family Court would soon be created at the State HIgh Court to try offenders of Gender Based Violence and would also designate some Magistrate Courts to handle cases of Gender Based Violence in the State.
Ikpeazu disclosed this at the ‘End GBV Summit’ with the Theme, ‘Strengthening Evidence And Referral Pathways For Gender-Based Violence Project in Abia State’, driven by the Abia First Lady, Nkechi Ikpeazu.
Ikpeazu, who was represented by the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Uche Ihediwa said in no distant time, these Courts would be created “as soon as the Courts resume” adding that some Magistrate Courts would be designated to handle GBV matters.
He, however, noted with disgust that “the first challenge is ‘us’”, stating that all were involved in a prosecution, “but the victim will come out to say she is not continuing with the case”.
He informed that if the society must completely get rid of Gender Based Violence , everybody must pursue it and ensure that offenders are adequately prosecuted to serve as a lesson to others.
“If we must deal with GBV once it occurs, we will pursue it to the end or it will continue,” he said adding that all had roles to play.
He stated government’s resolve not to allow the Programme to die, as the State “will hold any incoming First Lady accountable.”
He promised to continue to support the Program and ensure that trials of Gender Based Violence do not last too long adding that a budgetary provision for GBV would be approved for the Ministry of Women Affairs.
He assured that the State government would do everything to ensure that trials on GBV did not last too long and would apportion “extensive budgetary provision for GBV” and to continue to fund it so that over the time, it would be institutionalized.
Earlier in her Speech, the Chairman, Gender-Based Violence State Action Committee and Wife of the State Governor, Nkechi Ikpeazu had pleaded with the Governor to request the Judiciary to introduce and implement Family Court and GBV Court Rules in the State.
According to her, “We shall also request that Special Courts be designated as GBV Tribunals for quick dispensation of justice because one of the greatest barriers to reducing GBV is in the slow hands of the Ministry of Justice.
Wife of the Governor said the Summit affords the Government the opportunity to renew its commitment in the fight against Gender Based Violence in the State and urged the Ministry of Women Affairs, Justice and the Judiciary to rise up to the occasion of putting an end to GBV
“We shall also demand that Prosecutors everywhere should use the VAPP Law to prosecute GBV cases rather than obsolete legislation.
“We shall further ask that upgraded facilities and equipment be given to the selected Primary Healthcare Centres which have been designated as GBV Case Friendly.
“Our intention going forward is to set up a Sexual Assault Referral Centre as soon as possible to help with medical care and evidence gathering so that we can reduce the challenges the Police Investigators face while trying to build a water-tight case.
“This meeting affords us the opportunity to renew our commitment and refuel our zeal to battle GBV wherever we find it at home, school, workplace, business-places and places of worship.”
In their Speeches, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs And Social Development, Deaconess Rose Nna; Commissioner for Post Basic Education, Chijioke Mark; the Programme Lead, Vicar Hope Foundation, VHF Raymond Ukwa; the Project Consultant, Nnennaya Eneremadu; State Director, the National Orientation Agency, Ngozi Okechukwu, and the Technical Lead, VHF Chikamnayo Ojiegbe extolled the stand of Mrs. Ikpeazu on GBV and highlighted the journey so far that led to resolutions on GBV in the State.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, Abia Primary Health Development Agency , Dr Chinagozi Adindu, described Gender Based Violence as regrettable and an ill wind that blows no one any good. He also thanked Organizers and Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu for handling the responsibility of putting an end to the menace of GBV in the State.
The Summit was organized by office of the Wife of the Governor in collaboration with the Abia GBV Resource Center and Nigeria Academy of Science.