FG to develop procedures for prosecution of GBV in schools , says AGF


Minister of Justice/AGF Lateef Fagbemi (SAN)

By Fortune Abang

Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice has said the Federal government is making efforts to develop standard operating procedures to create a legal pathway for the prosecution of school-related Gender-based violence.

Fagbemi spoke at the national close-out/ handover ceremony of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative project organised by the United Nations to end violence against women and girls in Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.

Fagbemi said this while noting that Nigeria has benefitted from the Spotlight Initiative established to tackle widespread of GBV and other harmful traditional practices in the country.

“ The ministry has been a beneficiary of numerous programmes under the EU/UN spotlight initiatives, in partnership with the UN Women, UNESCO, UNICEF and UNDP.

“These are programmes centred on criminal justice actions at the Federal and spotlight States. The ministry will be launching the SoP for the prosecution of GBV.

“It is funded by UNESCO under the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative; the SoP is targeted at determining and responding to GVB when it occurs in our schools.

“This initiative propels further collaboration with key ministries of Women Affairs and Justice, to give rise to more robust-real-time and readily available pattern for solution room.”

He mentioned that the situation room would be situated at the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Ministry of Justice respectively.

Also speaking, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, represented by Mr Lanre Adekanya, Director of International Cooperation at the ministry., commended the initiative to have been apt in tackling GBV.

“From the implementation of Spotlight Initiative reports in Nigeria it is clear that significant milestones have been achieved with the success stories hinged on the commitment of stakeholders.

“It is important that the national stakeholders sustain the outcome by mainstreaming its activities to other strategic and operational plans.

“Given that women and girls are agents of change in any developing nation, I assure you the ministry will leave no stone unturned in supporting similar programmes to sustain impacts of Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria,” Bagudu said.

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Also, Dr Haliru Ndanusa, Emir of Shonga, Deputy Convenor-General of the Council of Traditional Leaders in Africa (COTLA) described the initiative as the most substantial commitment by EU/UN in tackling Sexual-GBV (SGBV).

“SGBV remains the most widespread human rights violation impacting our society’s socioeconomic development and conflicting the values of human dignity and sanctity in our communities.

“In recognizing the sociocultural harms of SGBV, we as custodians of culture and traditions have ethically worked to transform practices related to violence.

“We express immense satisfaction at Spotlight Initiative fostering a movement of ethical group in tackling SGBV, we will actively sustain the achievements of the initiative,” Ndanusa said.

In separate remarks, Mr Mathias Schmale, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, said the initiative focused on GBV in relation to collective efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda in the SDGs.

Schmale said, “Since the beginning of the Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria in 2019, we have made a tangible difference in the lives of many in Nigeria.

“It has enabled more than 60,500 women and girls to receive worthy services. It made allies of traditional leaders, enhanced data collection and galvanization in changing mindsets and changing lives.”

He reiterated that there is a need to secure commitments from governments and relevant stakeholders to safeguard the progress of the Spotlight Initiative.

For her part, Amb. Samuela Isopi, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, described the initiative as the world’s largest effort and investment in the fight against GBV.

“EU launched it in 2018 together with the UN, it is funded with a global investment of €500 million Euros, because we are convinced that this is what is necessary to make transformative change.

“Out of this €500 million, Euros 25 has been allocated to support fights against GBV in Nigeria; in Nigeria, the programme has tasted a new holistic approach that brought all actors together.

“This has allowed us to achieve resounding results, a record number of 35 States of the Federation have passed the VAPP Act into Law making it the fastest Bill passed in Nigeria,” she said.

The highpoint of the event was a video documentary on Spotlight Initiative results and impacts, stage performance on SGBV, discussion on Spotlight Initiative, the official declaration of the project as “closed” and handing over. (NAN)

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