By Charly Agwam – Bauchi
Ikra Foundation for Women and Youth Development has said that people who anticipate Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) against them can get court order from judges, under the VAPP law.
Speaking with journalists during the weekend in Bauchi, Ikra’s Country Executive Director, Amina Garuba Ahmed also called for a special court for cases relating to SGBV for speedy dispensation of justice for vulnerable people.
“A protection order is one that can be gotten from the court by an SGBV survivor or any person that anticipates any form of violence that is captured under that VAPP law. Such individual can go to the court to get an order from the judge, protecting from any anticipated violence, like rape, physical abuse and the like.
“Most of the challenges we have as GBV Justice Network Cluster is that implantation of the law is very slow. For example, we need practice directions, we need policy frame work from relevant ministries. We also need structures, like for instance, there is no VAPP implementation committee in the state.
“We have the Criminal Justice Administration Council, but it was only recently included in the budget. There’s also the problem of funding. We need private partners to come in and support us because the fight against gender-based violence is not for the government alone, it’s for everybody,” she said.
In her presentation of the topic ‘Consolidating the Advocacy for Justice Delivery for Survivors of SGBV in Nigeria’, she further advocated for a special court for SGBV cases.
“We want the court to fix a special time for rape cases. It could be early morning or late afternoon when no other case will be heard. In our engagement with some survivors, they sometimes feel shamed to appear in court when so many people are gathered. People tend to point at them as rape victims and this adds up to the stigmatisation.
“We have been engaging the court staff to provide protection for the SGBV survivors while appearing in the courtroom. The new law –Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) allows the victims to be protected. This means that all forms of their identity including those in their file could be pseudonymous.” she added.
Bauchi State government had in December 2022 signed VAPP bill into law to protect vulnerable people from any form of violence and victimisation, providing life imprisonment for perpetrators, and death by hanging in the case of rape of minor.