LOUD WHISPERS: Statement from Nigerian Governors Wives Forum on Sexual Violence

A few days ago, with the support of HE Dr Aisha Buhari the First Lady of Nigeria, Wives of Nigerian Governors took the unprecedented step of issuing a joint statement against the escalating levels of sexual violence against women and children in the country. All of us should be concerned. We all have a role to play.

We have observed with dismay, the intense levels of violence against women and children in the country. We lend our voices to that of our First Lady, HE Dr Aisha Buhari, who recently called for action to be taken on the increasing rate at which women and children are being sexually abused in Nigeria. On a daily basis, we are inundated with cases of defilement (of even babies of six months old), rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and murders of women and children. It is also worrisome that women and children with special needs have also become targets of sexual violence. We note with concern that in spite of the existence of laws at the federal level such as the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act of 2015 as well as legislations at State level to protect the well-being of women and children, perpetrators continue their despicable acts with impunity. On the rare occasions when incidences of rape are reported, victims are intimidated and shamed into silence. We empathise with the survivors of these sadistic acts and urge them to summon the courage to speak up. We are aware of the emotional and physical pain that they go through and we are committed as individuals and as a group to pressing for social and behavioural change in our society.

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As concerned mothers and citizens, we hereby:

  1. Call on the Inspector General of Police to direct the Nigerian Police to treat rape and defilement cases with the speed and seriousness such cases deserve, in order to ensure justice for victims. We are also requesting that the Nigerian Police should be tactful and supportive in the handling of alleged sexual offences and take measures to prevent the intimidation of victims by families and associates of suspects. We are also appealing for Rape and Sexual Offences desks to be created in Police Stations across the country where they do not exist, and that appropriately trained personnel are designated to provide timely support for victims, with attention paid to grassroots communities.

 

  1. Implore the Attorney General of the Federation as well as State Attorney Generals to fast track cases of rape and defilement. We also urge the setting up of Special Offences Courts for rape and defilement cases, and for such cases to be charged to the courts and heard without undue delays.

 

  1. Beseech the Minister of Health to ensure the provision of timely, sensitive and comprehensive medical services to victims of sexual violence. We plead that all medical facilities be equipped with Rape Kits and Post- Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent rape victims from contracting HIV. It is also our hope that professional counselling services can be made available to sexual violence survivors.

 

  1. Appeal to the National Assembly, Executive Governors and State Houses of Assembly to facilitate the passage of laws to protect women and children from violence and abuse. Where legislation already exists, we call for political will in the enforcement and implementation of such laws. In this regard, urgent medical attention, shelter, counselling and other support mechanisms for survivors are important.

 

  1. Plead with all political, religious and community leaders to speak up against the abuse of women and children

 

  1. Encourage civil society organisations and women’s support groups to continue to advocate on behalf of victims as well as provide all relevant services. We acknowledge the efforts of organisations such as WRAPA, which was created by former First Lady, HE Mrs Fati Abubakar, as well as Mirabel Center, WARDC, Project Alert, WACOL, WAFIRAN, and many others across the country who have been working tirelessly on these issues.

 

  1. Urge the general public to address this issue by supporting victims to get justice and breaking the culture of silence and stigma which prevents victims from coming forward.

 

As Wives of Governors, we are committed to using our positions to support all efforts aimed at mitigating this scourge. Nigerian women and children deserve to live their lives free from abuse of any kind.

 

Signed

HE Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Wife of Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum

HE Dr Amina Abubakar, Chair, Northern Governors Wives Forum

HE Mrs Betsy Obaseki, Chair, Southern Governors Wives Forum

On behalf of Nigerian Governors Wives

 

Cc: HE Dr Aisha Buhari, 1st Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria

HE Hon. Ahmed Lawal, Senate President

Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamilla, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Chief Justice of Nigeria

IG Abubakar Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General of Police

HE Dr Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum

Hon. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Federal Government

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health

Mr Dayo Apata, Solicitor General of Nigeria

 

Source: NGWF

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5 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Statement from Nigerian Governors Wives Forum on Sexual Violence

  1. Dom Dom July 26, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    This is a very good statement that demands urgent and immediate actions from all concerned parties. The work of making our society safer and better for our women should not be delayed any longer. It is time for action and we must act NOW

    Reply
  2. Femi Diipo July 26, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    When brilliant and sensitive minds converge, powerful statements like this one are often the expected outcome, the importance of this statement can then not be overemphasized. We have all got roles to play and we have to start now.
    We all truly have to be concerned and start making sure that we are playing our parts in ending violence and all sorts of abuse against women

    Reply
  3. Eric Onuoha July 27, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I like that the Governors Wives Forum have put out a statement like this to protect women and children from being abused. All that is needed is it’s full implementation by the relevant organisations

    Reply
  4. Olakunle Olajide July 29, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    This is the support we clamour for. Where we have women supporting women. Now not just women, but we have women in power coming to make such a heavy statement. I see a paradigm shift on sexual violence. I see offenders being prosecuted justly and cases being reported without the fear of the unknown. Thank you to all HER EXCELLENCIES for taking this bold step. We hope this makes that much positive impact.

    Reply
  5. DSEED July 31, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Now, women can boldly say we have voices in high places speaking for us. We can boldly say no more intimidation. We have the assurance that we have right hands fighting our cause.

    Reply

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