The Kaduna State Government has reiterated its readiness to conduct surgical castration for male rapists and bilateral salpingectomy for their female counterparts.
The State’s Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Rabi Salisu disclosed this on Tuesday at a Press briefing in Kaduna.
The Commissioner spoke at the Gender-Based Stakeholders Meeting/Conference organised by the Ministry in collaboration with Centre for Integrated and Health Programmes (CIHP).
Salisu said that the punitive measures were contained under the Kaduna State Government Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPPL), 2018.
She said: “The law followed a lengthy process of advocacy, lobbying and awareness raising by civil society organisations in the state in collaboration with relevant government agencies.
“Reported cases of violence against women and girls (VAWG) have been notably on the increase in Kaduna state since the passage of the VAPPL in December 2018.
“This could probably be attributed to increased awareness about VAWG and also the availability of the law.”
She said the state has witnessed a rise in cases of gender-based violence.
Salisu said, ”According to the National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Data Situation Room and dashboard for prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria, a total of 832 cases have been reported in 2023 so far.”
She added that the 16 days between 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 10th December, were known as the ‘Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign’.
Salisu said: “This period provides a time to stir up action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
“25th November is designated as the Orange the World Day by the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign. The colour orange symbolises a brighter future, free of violence.
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“It also serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence and it is therefore used as the colour of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.” .
The Commissioner further disclosed that every year, the UNITE Campaign focuses on a specific theme, adding, “this year’s theme is “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against Women and Girls”.
She said the campaign urged the citizens to show how much they cared about ending violence against women and girls by sharing the actions undertaken to create a world free from violence towards women and girls.
“While some level of progress has been made in this campaign to end violence against women and girls through the VAPPL, some challenges still exist,” she said.
Salisu, however, enumerated some of the factors encumbering the implementation of the law in the state to include: Slow uptake of the law characterised by prosecutors not applying the law to reported GBV cases.
She added, ”VAWG cases are reported but not charged using the VAPP Law as other laws – Penal Code and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law take precedence over the VAPP due to stiffer penalties in those laws than the VAPP.
Salisu stated: ”Others included; Undue pressure on survivors and/or families to accept out of court settlements by community is also a major hindrance, in addition and poor awareness amongst citizens and service providers.
”Others are delays in prosecuting cases by the Police and the courts also pose a barrier to access to justice by survivors and victims of VAWG.
“It is therefore imperative to strengthen the justice system, intensify GBV case findings, provide crucial clinical and non-clinical services to survivors of GBV while improving access to these crucial services.
“Addressing the challenge of poor coordination, absence of a harmonized platform for reporting, and lack of capacity to manage Gender-Based Violence data will contribute largely to ending gender based violence.”
According to her, it is pertinent to address the difference in reporting tools and the upload of data on the National GBV dashboard as this will bridge the gaps in the campaign.
Isaiah Austin, the State Technical Lead for CIHP in an interview shortly after the briefing, said the day marked 16 day activism against GBV which was also referred to as “Orange the World Campaign”, which began in 1991.
Austin said: “The essence of these activities is to bring all stakeholders together and harness their resources and capacity to ensure that the fight against GBv is made more impact in our communities.
“Beyond the presence of the key stakeholders, other community members are here and the aim is to educate stakeholders on how to report GBV cases and enlighten ourselves on the essential services available for GBV survivors.
“CIHP also facilitates referral of GBV cases and preventives services particularly Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which is important to prevent HIV”.