The Federal Capital Territory has inaugurated its Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Team secretariat.
Mrs Agnes Utah-Hart, Director, FCT Gender Department and Coordinator of SGBVRT, who spoke during the inauguration, said that the centre would provide succour to victims of sexual abuse in Abuja and its environs.
“The focus is to establish a centre where victims of gender-based violence can make necessary reports of such abuses,’’she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the secretariat was renovated and furnished by Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme of the British Council and funded by European Union.
Utah-Hart commended RoLAC for their gesture and urged the secretariat to work assiduously to ensure successful rehabilitation and re-integration of victims of sexual abuses.
“This intervention by RoLAC is very timely because we need to ensure proper coordination and documentation of cases of sexual violence in the city,’’ she said.
Utah-Hart urged residents of FCT not to hesitate to report any case of sexual violence by approaching the secretariat, located at Cyprian Ekwensi Cultural Centre in Area 10, Central Business District or through the hotline 08078111126.
“I want to use this opportunity to tell the residents of FCT that any reported case will be treated with the utmost confidence it requires and within the ambits of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015,’’ she said.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, who spoke, said that the secretariat would serve as a catalyst in the prosecution of offenders.
“It is surely the desire of all here that the secretariat will be critical in the prosecution of offences under the Act and also serve as a tool for apprehending offenders under the Act,’’ Okah-Donli said.
Mr Danladi Plang, National Programme Manager, RoLAC, urged the secretariat to discharge its duties with diligence and ensure the purpose for which it was established was achieved.
According to Plang, “your quality of services will determine if people will find reasons to come and report cases of abuse or not.
“This secretariat is crucial in eliminating and prohibiting all forms of violence against persons in FCT, as well as serving the purpose of providing maximum protection and effective remedies for victims,’’Plang said.
Mrs Hauwa Shekarau, Country Director, Ipas, an international NGO, said Ipas was collaborating with hospitals in the FCT on how to manage victims of all forms of violence.
She, however, pointed out that there was need to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the VAPP Act in the FCT.