Nigeria's Minister wants psychiatric tests for couples before marriage


Pauline Kedem Tallen, ex-Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development

By Aderogba George

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has said that she would initiate a conversation with the Minister of Interior, to make psychiatric tests compulsory for couples before they are married.

The Minister was speaking at a news conference on Friday, in Abuja, in the wake of recent cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the country.

She cited the recent cases of Osinachi Nwachukwu which happened in Abuja, Mercy Samuel, in Jos, Plateau state, and the viral Chrisland school girl video, who was alleged to have been raped by her classmates during the school’s excursion project to Dubai.

Tallen said that the ministry was concerned about the loss of loved ones in the family to several forms of violence, saying that these violence had devastated the society.

According to her, from the North, South, East and West, several cases were being reported daily to the ministry, and that there was the need to remind people that due process was in place to address each of the cases.

She said that the Ministry would not be silent and watch the society degenerate to a level where GBV was practiced with impunity, adding that perpetrators of the known cases must be brought to book.

“Perpetrators need to be told that Nigeria is a society with zero tolerance to GBV. President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to seeing an end to GBV, the 36 State Governors are with us on this. The 9th National Assembly is equally committed to this cause.

“As a first step to ensuring that we bring an end to this issue, I will initiate a conversation with the Minister of Interior to ensure that psychiatric tests were made compulsory as part of marriage requirements in the country.

“The families make up the society and everyone comes from a family. Mothers are the bedrock of the family and custodians of family traditions.

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“We must play our part in moulding our male children to become better adults, who can take on marital responsibilities without feeling insecure. We must put an end to the culture of reinforcing male dominance in the society.

The charge by the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba to all his officers during my recent visit to him over the Osinachi case was a clear signal that it would no longer be business as usual.

Our society must move with the realities of the times. We can no longer tolerate wickedness, greed, envy and malicious acts under the guise of Culture,’’ Tallen said.

She demanded for justice in all the recent GBV cases which, she said, the ministry had already taken steps to achieve justice for them.

Tallen appealed to all leaders in the society such as community, religious, teachers, healthcare providers, fathers and mothers, to be more sensitive in the way they carry out their activities and utilize the powers bestowed on them.

According to her, the mindset and formation of the young ones required the support of the entire society, saying that only recently Yobe State joined the league of states to assent to the Child Rights Act (CRA) and Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act.

She stated that with the passing into law of the CRA and VAPP in the state, the country now had 27 states that had passed the CRA, while 34 states had passed the VAPP Act.

The country problem is not about the domestication of these acts, but their implementation was the major problem the minister noted.

She appealed to the media to continue to spotlight and carry messages about SGBV to the wider society.

The minister also called on the state governors to support the ministry of women affairs in their various states with funds for advocacy, to enable them create more awareness and campaign to reduce cases of SGBV. (NAN)

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