Senate seeks stiffer penalties to end violence against women

THE Senate has called for stiffer penalties for violence against women in Nigeria.

The Senate also directed the Police to prosecute anyone involved in gender-based violence (GBV).

The senator representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ireti Kingibe, and 16 other senators moved the motion that led to the Senate’s resolutions on Thursday, November 30.

The resolution was to honour the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence that the United Nations observes yearly from November 25 to December 10.

While making her motion at the Senate chamber in Abuja, Kingibe said women were vulnerable and at risk of GBV. 

“More is needed to ensure that women live and are free of violence. The fatalities from GBV are more than 1,000,” she said.

Contributing to the motion, a senator from Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, said women suffered at the hands of other women.

“Nigerian women and the world have suffered at the hands of not just men but women and in various organisations,” Akpoti-Uduaghan stated.

Adams Oshiomhole, who represents Edo North, stated that GBV offenders ought to face stiff penalties for offenders.

“I think we need to review the laws that have to do with violence against women. We need to make the penalties stiffer,” the former Edo state governor said.

He asked the Senate to empower the Police to prosecute offenders.

He added that simply preaching against it would not convince individuals who believe they have the right to oppress others to think differently.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio put the motion to a vote, and it was approved.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government is set to create legal protocols for the prosecution of gender-based violence in schools.

According to the government, the action seeks to launch a standard operating procedure that will produce a legal avenue for the prosecution of gender-based violence in schools.

This was disclosed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) on Tuesday night in Abuja.

 He was speaking at the national close-out/handover ceremony of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative project managed by the United Nations to end violence against women and girls in Nigeria.

 The Spotlight Initiative was founded to address the pervasiveness of GBV and other detrimental traditional practices in Nigeria.

The minister said the effort was to counteract the nation’s rising incidence of sexual and gender-based violence or SGBV.

“These are programmes centred on criminal justice actions at the federal and state levels. The ministry will be launching the SoP for the prosecution of GBV.

“It is funded by UNESCO under the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative. The SoP is targeted at determining and responding to GVB when it occurs in our schools.”

He stat that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Justice will house the situation room, respectively.

    Gender-based violence is a frequent occurrence in Nigeria, especially against women and girls.

    It comprises a multifaceted issue deeply rooted in societal norms and cultural dynamics. It also encompasses various forms of abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic violence, disproportionately affecting women and girls.

    On September 3, The ICIR reported how pre-teen girls in the FCT were tortured and made to endure breast ironing to make them look unattractive due to the fear of rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

    The ICIR reports that the Federal Government has repeatedly promised to establish specialised courts to hasten the trial of SGBV offenders. The pledge has yet to come to fruition.


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