FG plans to set up a mobile court for SGBV related cases.

FG plans to set up a mobile court for SGBV-related cases.

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FG plans to set up a mobile court for SGBV related cases. Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye : Minister of Women Affairs

By Sehubo Festus


FG plans to set up a mobile court for SGBV-related cases. The federal government has pledged to develop a mobile court to deal with cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Mrs. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, Minister of Women Affairs, disclosed this plan during a news conference in Abuja on Monday as part of efforts to revitalize the ministry’s activities.

The minister also went on to say that the mobile court would work in collaboration with a number of organizations, including the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other security agencies.

The Minister explained that the concept of establishing a mobile court aims to expedite the delivery of justice, particularly for vulnerable individuals, aligning with Mr. President’s renewed hope agenda. She emphasized that their efforts are directed towards affording the less privileged the opportunity to enjoy their rights and not endure oppression.

Furthermore, the Minister expressed her concern, stating that individuals engaged in the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) would also face trial in this court as part of the ongoing efforts to eradicate this old tradition.

She added partnering with other organizations was to have an innovative way to enforce the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015, and other laws to guide against SGBV-, GBV, and FGM.

Kennedy-Ohaneye said that the Ministry’s creche and other underutilized properties will get back to their feet for proper functioning within her 100 days in office.

She assured that the sanitary towels the ministry usually gives to students will now transformed into a setting up “Sanitary Pad Production Centre” as the old method can no longer be sustainable.

She expressed that the distribution of gas cylinders to rural women has become unsustainable for the ministry due to concerns about who will refill these cylinders for the women once they are depleted.

The minister elaborated that the ministry intends to shift its approach towards supporting these women by providing charcoal burners and bio-gas stoves, a more cost-effective solution. She said that the ministry had decided to establish a women’s cooperative society as part of an empowerment initiative. This cooperative will operate in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Traders Associations, and various international organizations.

“The Ministry has decided to actively encourage women’s groups to establish cooperatives and register with the ministry. This will enable the ministry to provide them with various production machines to boost Nigeria’s economy, enhance the livelihoods of women, and contribute to national development.”

During discussions with student leaders from across the country regarding the issue of sexual harassment at the University of Calabar, the Minister called on the Department of State Services (DSS) to conduct an investigation. She stated, “Today, we held a meeting with student leaders, and we have agreed that they will collaborate with our ministry, the Ministry of Women Affairs, to combat sexual harassment.”

She further explained, “We no longer want sexual harassment to be addressed solely by expelling or dismissing the perpetrators from their positions. Instead, we seek justice to be served because if we do not pursue justice, it will continue to be a recurring issue. The students, in conjunction with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, have decided that every case should result in the pursuit of justice through judicial actions. This way, those responsible will be held accountable, and others will learn from it.”

Addressing a specific case at the University of Calabar, she added, “We are commencing with the Calabar case as it is currently in the spotlight. As we have agreed, we will write to the DSS to intervene in the investigation. The goal is to ensure that the professor does not escape justice. Mere dismissal from the position is not a sufficient punishment. We want a comprehensive investigation to gather evidence that will put an end to this issue, and appropriate legal action will be taken. It’s worth noting that the professor has faced similar allegations in the past, was previously dismissed, then reinstated, and has now taken legal action. We must prevent this cycle from repeating itself, and that’s why we are advocating for a thorough investigation to strengthen our case in court.”

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