By Raphael Ekpang
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu Esq has revealed that statistics from January to June 2020, showed that the commission received a total of 754 complaints of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) over 954 victims in 27 states and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
According to him, these statistics do not include human rights cases received by other SGBV responders like NAPTIP, the Police, Social Welfare Departments, CSOs and NGOs.
Ojukwu spoke at the opening ceremony of a 2-day high level workshop for SGBV for Human Rights Defenders which commenced in Abuja on Tuesday.
He stated that majority of cases received by the Commission emanated from Lagos, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Cross River State.
“Without a doubt, the Commission as the primary institution for the protection of human rights in Nigeria has an onerous task ahead of it which is to deal effectively with all cases of SGBV brought to its attention.
“From our statistics, from January to June 2020, the Commission received a total of seven hundred and fifty-four (754) complaints involving over nine hundred and fifty-four (954) victims from twenty-seven (27) state offices including the headquarters” he said.
He explained that at the outset of restrictions and lockdown occasioned by Covid-19 in Nigeria, the number of SGBV cases received by the Commission increased astronomically with its attendant consequences.
The NHRC Boss stated that so many factors have been adduced for this increase including victims being in close proximity to their abusers for long periods and their increased financial dependence on perpetrators.
He added that to address these challenges, the Commission has carried out some innovative measures some of which includes: development and Usage of cutting Edge Technology for Receipt and Tracking of Responses to Complaints of SGBV in Nigeria.
“Faced by challenge of restricted movement, the Commission in partnership with other stakeholders adopted the use of technology to scale up response and protection for victims/survivors. In this regard, we up scaled the usage of our social media channels, developed cutting edge applications such as reportNHRC.org and UNSUB, etc.
“For us to address the deadly blow dealt by Covid-19 to the very social fabric that binds us together as a family and humanity, we must all recommit to being our brothers or sisters keepers by taking steps that will ensure collective protection of the values that upscale our dignity as human beings” Ojukwu added.
The Executive Secretary of NHRC noted that the workshop is also aimed at bringing together SGBV stakeholders at the federal and state levels, including the FCT and spotlight states of Lagos, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Cross Rivers and the Commission, to dialogue and agree on a way forward on how to combat SGBV in their respective States.
However, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen has commended the Executive Secretary of NHRC for living to his responsibility in the commissions while pledging to collaborate with the commission to tackle issues of SGBV in the country.
The minister Who was represented by the deputy director, Child development, Mr. Ali Andrew Madugu further said that with what the commission is doing, the minister of women affairs would be proud to collaborate with it in order to address this prevailing cases of SGBV in the country.
In the same vain, the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT council, Mr. Emmanuel Ogbeche also commended the NHRC Boss saying, he is doing a noble and exemplinary job.
The number one jounalist in FCT assured the commission of continous media support towards making Nigeria free of SGBV