National Association of Seadogs, otherwise known as Pyrates Confraternity, has called on government of the 36 states of the Federation to establish special courts in their respective states for the prosecution of perpetrators of gender-based violence.
NAS said that if such courts were created culprits involved in sexual offences or gender-based violence would be speedily prosecuted and jailed for their offences without any delay, as many of their cases are still pending in the magistrate or high courts.
A Legal Adviser to the Abeokuta chapter of the Association(Ash Montana Deck), Barrister Abeeb Whyte, disclosed this at a press conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ) Secretariat, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the weekend.
He spoke on the theme: “Addressing Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Ogun State”.
Whyte, who said that it was high time state governments across the country put the establishment of special courts into consideration, urged those that have domiciled the law against gender-based violence in their states to implement the law.
He maintained that it would be easy for state governments who have domiciled laws against the gender-based violence in their states to implement the laws and create the special courts, while urging those who are yet to domicile such laws in their states to do so and establish the court.
The legal adviser expressed regret that most victims of gender-based violence sometimes lose their cases at the court because they lack immediate evidence, admonishing them, especially those of rape and domestic violence, to quickly report their cases to nearest hospitals or police stations to show evidence in court.
He cautioned mothers of female pupils and secondary school students not to be too harsh and always be open to talks with them so that they could easily report any cases of sexual violence in schools or in the neighbourhood to them without any fear of condemnation.
Whyte also urged teachers in primary and secondary schools to sensitize their female students on sex related topics and rape programmes as well as educating them on gender-based violence issues that might endanger their lives in the future
He also appealed to Ogun State Government, which according to him, is at the fore front of combating gender-based violence in the country, to as a matter of urgency, create the court and allow the gender-based violence committee formed by the fist lady, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun to be more proactive in their programmes.
The legal Adviser said, “We are appealing to state governments of the 36 state of the Federation to create special courts for gender-based violence. There are some state governments that have domiciled the gender-based violence law in their states and some have not but we want them to create special courts for the hearing of gender-based violence cases in their states
“If we have this court it will help the legal system because the court is indebted in so many cases and many a times these cases tarry in court and the victims will feel may the government is not working but it is a system and we can only appealing that if we have a special court this it will be easier because a stitch in nine saves lives but the court will only be hearing the cases of gender-based violence.
“We need everybody to come on board, we need to come up with special programme, encourage the children especially female ones to speak out. Our teachers should please sensitize our children, talk to them let there be communal parenting that allow them to speak out and we should also support to victims they should not be condemned.
“It is not always easy to get evidence in most cases but I must say that the moment that you are reporting the parent should ensure that they have a medical check up immediately but that evidence is very important it helps that prosecution, it also show that there have been a rape or violence.
“The state government is trying; the wife of the governor chairs a particular committee that seeks to combat gender-based violence. We are only appealing to them to be more proactive in their programme and pick people that will help to achieve their aim.” he added
While speaking for Ogun State Ministry of Women affairs and social development, Mr Daramola Idowu mentioned issues of gender-based violence including bulling, beating ones wife, emotional blackmail, abusive, and other sort of domestic violence cases, saying any one found culpable of the offences with pay fines or risk jail.
On her part, Comrade Adesola Olusoga from Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Ogun State, emphasized on rape among girls particularly the secondary school ones, while appealing to their mothers to be more closer to their wards as rape could make them mentally unstable and dropped out of school when they can’t cope with the trauma.
“Women of today let us talk aloud whenever we are experiencing something that is uncalled for don’t just keep quiet. Women of today must not die in silence there are cases of people dying in silence. In secondary school of nowadays a girl of tender age is being espoused to many things Like in my school a girl of JSS 11 was raped by a man of thirty something years old. Immediately it happened the man was arrested and was jailed but unfortunately the girl was impregnated and one of her friend gave her drugs to terminate it and that was a big e implication of the rape on the her”
It( rape) makes the person mentally unstable .And it also leads to failure in school and can lead someone into prostitution It can lead to drop out. Women, Let us be very close to our girls, whatever they can’t relate to their father they can relate to us and sadly some parents have non-challant attitude towards their girls because they are busy with their work” she hinted.