AN NGO, Save the Child Initiative (STCI), has called for immediate appointment of a judge for Sokoto Division of the Federal High Court, to handle mounting cases of sexual assault and other gender based violence in Sokoto State.
Mr AbdulGaniyu Abubakar, Chief Executive of the NGO, made the call on Thursday at a training programme for women advocates and organisations.
He said that the Division had been without a federal judge for long, a situation that had stalled cases and allowed perpetrators of sexual assault and gender based violence to evade justice.
According to him, perpetrators are going about unpunished and survivors left in pain due to absence of a judge to handle the cases with dispatch.
“ I appeal to the Chief Judge of Federal High Court and National Judicial Council to consider posting presiding judge in Sokoto division without further delay,” Abubakar said.
“ Nigerian constitution stipulates period on holding a suspect without legitimate trials and absence of the judge become a hitch in the processes,’’ NGO boss said.
He also urged Gov. Aminu Tambuwal and the state Commissioner for Justice, Mr Suleiman Usman (SAN), to work toward strengthening the legal system in the state to ease the processes of prosecuting sexual and gender based violence offenders.
On the training, Abubakar said that the event was aimed at scaling up the capacity of women and girls advocates facing intersecting forms of discrimination in relevant skills for inter-ministerial coordination and engagements.
He identified inadequate legal framework to prohibit Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), poor law enforcement, political interference and culture of silence against women and children as the major factors for the high rate of cases in the state.
“SGBV is a tragedy with long-term medical and psychological consequences’,” Abubakar noted, adding that STCI was all out to ensure zero-tolerance of sexual violence.
He urged law enforcement agencies in the state to redouble efforts and work with community based groups toward supporting fight against gender based violence and related abuses.
” STCI executes, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative components under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project in the state, grassroots groups are targeted in the campaign in six local government areas, including Illela, Shagari, Raba, Binji, Sokoto South and Sokoto North,” he said.
EU-UN SI project is a global, multi-year partnership between the EU and UN to eliminate all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls, backed by an initial dedicated financial envelope of 500 million pounds from 2018 to 2023.
The training had in attendance various groups ncluding, People Living With Disabilities, Internally Displaced Persons, Widows, Youths and People Living With HI/AIDS.