The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has prompted all state governments yet to adopt the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 2015 to do so and stop the wave of Gender and Sexual Assaults in the country.
UNFPA expressed concern on the growing number of cases of violence against women and girls (VAWG) recently reported in the public domain.
According to the UN body in a statement, some of the cases that have been of concern include the recent sexual assault on 13 year old Ochanya Ogbaje by duo of father and son and which resulted in her death.
Others are: the case of two boys who were allegedly drugged and raped in Lagos that was reported by Blogger, Linda Ikeji; the reported story of Gift Alonge, who suffered countless incidences of sexual assaults and defilement at the hands of her biological father and another, of a young woman in Benin City, who was brutalized through the insertion of pepper in her private parts by a group of young men.
It is on record that various cases of gender and sexual assaults and gender violence have resulted in the deaths and morbidity of victims across the country and UNFPA calls on all relevant actors to do more to safeguard lives of women and girls.
Though there may not be accurate data of SGBV in the country, but the report of the Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Year-End Report, January – December 2017 in identified IDP camps of Banki, Damasak and Ngala in Borno State showed prevalence of SGBV.
According to the available data in the 2013 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), various categories of Gender violence exist as follows: Lifetime Physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence :16 % ; Physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence in the last 12 months : 11 % ; Lifetime Non-Partner Sexual Violence : 2 % ; Child Marriage :44 % and Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting :18 %
The UNFPA applauded the effort of the Federal and State Governments as well as Civil Society Organizations and other development partners towards the enactment of the 2015 Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act.
So far, five states of Anambra, Ebonyi, Oyo, Kaduna and Edo have domesticated the VAPP Act while Lagos and Ogun have enacted Laws against sexual and domestic violence as well as criminalizing all forms of gender discrimination including Female Gender Mutilation (FGM).
The UNFPA reiterated its Zero Tolerance for Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices and so assures Governments of its continued support towards the enactment and domestication of the relevant laws.
The UN body also assures of support in capacity building of front-line response providers such as law enforcement agents and the judiciary, awareness campaigns and sustainable data management to support ending the scourge of gender violence in Nigeria.
The UN agency noted that the rise in reported cases of gender violence as well as countless numbers, which go unreported are symptoms of larger malaise, which requires urgent national attention.