A representative of sexual and gender-based violence Justice Network cluster in Kaduna, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, has said urgent delivery of justice for survivors is critical to consolidate administration of criminal justice law.
The Acting Executive Director of LANW, Hannatu Ahuwan, said this during at a news conference on Wednesday in Kaduna.
The conference was in commemoration of 16 days of activism towards implementation of ACJL and Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law in Kaduna.
Mrs Ahuwan mentioned some common acts of violence in Nigeria to include sexual harassment, harmful traditional practices, emotional, physical, psychological, and socio-economic violence.
She explained that the SJN cluster was pushing for full implementation of the VAPP and ACJ Laws to make the laws effective in the five project states of Bauchi, Benue, Enugu, Kaduna, and Osun.
She said the USAID-funded strengthening civic advocacy and local engagement project, seeking to consolidate its advocacy efforts for a more efficient implementation of the VAPPL and ACJL in the five states, aimed at achieving speedy justice service delivery and resolution of SGBV cases.
Mrs Ahuwan emphasised the need to have adequately funded sexual assault referral centres and the need for the judiciary to designate some courts for the hearing of SGBV cases.
She said some days should also be set aside for the courts to hear SGBV cases.
Mrs Ahuwan said this would attract accelerated hearing for such cases and speedy justice delivery for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
She listed cultural/religious beliefs, ineffective implementation of laws/policies, and limited access to justice for survivors/victims as challenges undermining interventions at eradicating SGBV.
Stating the urgent need for delivery of justice for survivors of SGBV in Kaduna, Mrs Ahuwan added that it was the only way to consolidate advocacy efforts.
She, however, said Kaduna State, which took significant steps to enact the crucial laws, would achieve its effectiveness by relying heavily on the implementation.
According to the LANW deputy director, the Kaduna State VAPPL prohibits all forms of violence against persons and prescribes penalties for perpetrating any of the rights therein.
She identified minor penalties for offences in VAPPL in the Penal Code Laws.
She also mentioned poor capacity of the enforcement agencies, lack of understanding of the types of gender-based violence and pressure from the community and family members of perpetrators as some of the issues impeding access to justice on gender-based violence.
Mrs Ahuwan called on stakeholders, government, law enforcement agencies and the public, lawyers and civil society organisations to unite in ensuring a more robust and swift implementation of the VAPP Law.
She said this would ensure justice to the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. She commended the efforts of the government, adding that there was more work to be done.