The Sexual and Gender Based Justice Network, (SJN), Cluster has commended the First lady of Benue State, Mrs Eunice Ortom of her efforts at reducing cases of sexual and gender abuse in the state.
The group in an address at the press conference held in Makurdi at the weekend led by Precious Sokumtochukwu, legal officer of Lawyers Alert also enjoined the state government to ensure the inauguration of Sexual Assault Referral Centre, (SARC), already established at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, (BSUTH), Makurdi.
The three man team of the group; Sokumtochukwu, Victor Ebo, Reproductive Rights Officer of Lawyers Alert, and Laz Mon, BENGONENT Chairman noted that early inauguration of the center
will assist vulnerable women and girls approach the centre for justice.
The team said, “We are calling on the Benue State Government and office of the First Lady to expedite action to commission this center to go a long way in ensuring that justice is provided for the vulnerable man on the street”.
The team also implored state government to ensure that funding be earmarked in the budget to help cater for the needs of the victims.
While appreciating existence of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACL) the group said that there were some sections in the VAPP and the ACL that needed to be amended to accommodate the present realities.
They said, “VAPP for one, made mention that the police is responsible to pay the transportation of the victims and the survivors who have approached them over SGBV matters. While that is laudable, we know that does not suit our present reality and we are looking forward to have this law amended to accommodate that.
“Most importantly as it relates to amendment of law, as it relates to jurisdiction, we are looking at the SJN to accommodate for the Magistrates to have jurisdiction over SGBV issues especially rape. This will go a long way to ensure that there is effective implementation of the law and there is effective justice delivery across the state”.