The Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, has declared a state of emergency on gender-based and sexual form of violence. The decision, taken at the 10th COVID-19 teleconference meeting of the forum, is coming amid rising cases of rape across the country. In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the governors condemned sexual and gender-based violence, saying they were committed to ensuring justice was served. It also called on its members yet to implement laws against sexual and gender-based violence to do so in order to reduce the spate of rape in the country. The governors also called obn commissioners of police in their states to provide detailed report on the actions taken to strengthen their responses to rape cases reported to them. The communique read: “Governors have agreed to declare a State of Emergency on Sexual and Gender-based Violence. Governors strongly condemned all forms of violence against women and children and committed to ensuring that offenders face the maximum weight of the law.
“Call on state governors that have not already domesticated relevant gender-based protection laws to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, the Child Rights Act and the updated Penal Code to increase protection for women and children and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators in addition to creating a sex offenders register in each State to name and shame; “Invite the Commissioners of Police to provide a detailed report on the actions taken to strengthen their response to sexual and gender-based violence through the Family Support Units and Force Gender Units at the state and local government levels; “Governors will commit additional funding for the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence through appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies; “Endorse the Communique of the meeting of the First Ladies in Nigeria which held on 7th June 2020 to evaluate and mobilize action to check the alarming rate of sexual violence against women and girls and indeed all forms of violence against women.” Recall that rape cases in the country have been on the upsurge in the last two months, which crystallised in the report murder of 22-year-old Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a Microbiology student of the University of Benin, who was raped and killed by her assailant. Barely a week after,, Barakat Bello, an 18-year-old girl was raped to death at her father’s house in Ibadan, Oyo State. Aside from these two incidents, there had been countless number of other rape cases, which prompted both the executive arm and National Assembly to react a few days ago, expressing their commitmets to put a stop to it.