Nigeria has recorded a total of 23,000 cases of sexual assault in the past eight years.
According to a report by the British Council, 23,207 survivors of sexual assault have been reported. This report was gathered between July 2013 and September 2021.
The Council started noting these cases when the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre was established in 2021.
The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme of the British Council made this statement on Tuesday. They advised the Federal Government to set up special courts for sexual and gender-based violence. This court would prosecute and address the delays in these cases.
This was discussed at an event themed “The Survivor Project: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.”
The Programme Officer of RoLAC, Hannatu Essien revealed the high-ranking state with this case.
She said that Kano State ranked high with reports of sexual and gender-based violence against women.
Essien said, “The RoLAC Programme is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Justice, FCT Judiciary and the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons on The Survivor Project, in commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism 2021.
“Since the establishment of the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Nigeria in 2013 and the establishment of the 31 SARCs that have followed, the SARCs have continued to provide free immediate emergency medical treatment, counselling and follow up support to survivors of rape and sexual assault, including support for their engagement with the legal system.
“In just eight years, the SARC Network has grown from a single SARC in Lagos to 32 SARCs across 19 states in Nigeria. Assisting 23,207 survivors of sexual assault combined, between July 2013 and September 2021, over 70 per cent of whom have been children under the age of 18 years.
“In spite of the remarkable expansion and spread of the SARC initiative in Nigeria and stronger focus nationwide on the provision of comprehensive medical and counselling services for survivors, the number of SGBV cases reported to SARCs is still a poor representation of the scale of sexual assault in Nigeria.
“The number of SGBV cases that are prosecuted are very few compared to the number of reports. For many years, there has been a steady call for the establishment of specialised Courts for SGBV in Nigeria to address delays in the justice process.
“Most recently, this call was echoed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN). The AGF’s call followed the inauguration in 2020 by the President, of an inter-ministerial Management committee on eradication of sexual and gender-based violence. A demonstration of the government’s renewed commitment to comprehensively address SGBV and protect victims.”
On the Sexual-Gender Based Violence against men, she said Kano still ranked high in this case.
Her words: “We have larger reports of men and boys who have experienced sexual and gender-based violence. Kano State has the highest records with men being victims.”
According to PUNCH HealthWise, RoLAC programmed is a five-year (2017-2022) project funded by the European Union. The British Council implements this programme in Nigeria.
The purpose of RoLAC is to enhance good governance in Nigeria by curbing corruption.
The areas of focus are;