By Musa Isa Ahmed
About 14 complaints were lodged before the special investigation panel on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) sitting in Adamawa, Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu has disclosed.
Ojukwu who made the disclosure during the commencement of a two day sitting of the panel in Yola noted that with the high turnout of people, he expects more petitions to follow suit.
He noted that based on the preponderance of SGBV during the lockdown, NHRC decided to constitute the panel to attend to the various complaints by survivors of the crime.
“The commission is the first institution that has the temerity to embark in this exercise.
“You will recall that the issue of sexual and gender based violence has been a trauma for the whole country and there was no solution, there was no accountability and there is stigmatization and discrimination.
“So the commission, based on the outcome of its research during the lockdown when cases of GVB excercabate leading to a national uproar constituted the panel. The commission now decided to for the first time start an accountability process for issue of SGBV and that is what we are doing now,” he said.
He noted that with the move by the commission, the issue of GBV will become a thing of the past as nobody will go scot free henceforth.
Ojukwu noted that although the panel is victim centered, the perpetrator will be given fair hearing and will be met with no sanction if he is not found wanton.
“The panel is victim centered, the victim is going to be given the opportunity to speak out. The perpetrator is going to be given fair hearing.
“At the end of the day, if there is any human rights violation there will be consequences. Consequences can be prosecution in court, it can be apology, award of compensation or damages but the point,” he said.
While appreciating the laudable efforts of the NHRC in championing the cause of humanity, governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri pledged to continue to support the commission for the benefit of the common man.
The governor who was represented by his chief of staff, professor Maxwell Gidado (SAN), noted that having hailed from Adamawa north senatorial zone worst afflicted by Boko Haram insurgency, the governor understands the relevance of the panel.
He noted that to underscore the state government’s commitment towards enhancing human rights records in the state, the government has approved a 4,000 square meters land to the commission noting that C of O will be ready soon.
He called on the people with such complaints to readily come out and air the grievances for them to get justice.
Various stakeholders including the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption, (ROLAC), Ministry of Justice, Chief Judge, FIDA, CAN and Muslim Council all pledged their unflinching commitment towards helping NHRC in routing SGBV from the state.