From Adamu Shehu, Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has advised women to discharge their responsibilities by considering taking their destiny into their hands.
The governor made the statement on Tuesday while receiving the state Action Committee on Sexual and Gender Base Violence (SGBV) on advocacy visit to Government House Bauchi.
The governor reiterated that Bauchi state will be at the forefront in fighting sexual and gender-based violence, and sent a strong warning to the offenders that the state government wouldn’t relent as anyone found guilty would be dealt with squarely.
He emphasized that it will serve as deterrent to others, as his administration will not pardon any offender of sexual and gender-based violence, and henceforth will be subjected to laws of the land in accordance with the Violence Against Persons Prohibition law(VAPP).
Governor Bala described the formation of the committee as timely as it will boost morale in sensitizing communities on the dangers associated with sexual and gender based violence.
“I must once again thank the State House of Assembly for coming up with VAPP law. This has become a scourge in Nigeria not only in Bauchi.”
The Governor explained that, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition law has set all that needs to be done to protect victims of sexual gender based violence.
“I apologised to our women folks for the recent pardon extended unknowingly to one of the rapists in Bauchi. We will never pardon anyone found guilty of this grievous offense,” he stressed.
“I am happy with the advocacy set up by my dear wife because I believe that is the only way to go.” We will do everything possible to protect our women folks and children.
Therefore, Governor Bala said the state government will institutionalise the activities of the committee through the SSG office and make them a standing committee and also reflect in the state budget line, so as to discharge its responsibilities effectively.
The action committee who led by the State First Lady, Dr. Aisha Bala Mohammed advocated for the establishment of a mobile court to ensure speedy trial of offenders of sexual and gender based violence and strengthen the operational capacity of the committee.
The first lady who is the patron of the committee, appealed to the state government to do more by coming up with new strategy of curbing the ugly trend in the state.
“Your Excellency, I inaugurated the 21 members of the committee in order to educate members of the public on what Sexual and Gender Based Violence is all about for us to minimize the cases in our society.”
Hajiya Aisha Mohammed said the visit is to intimate the Governor on the activities of the committee with a view to soliciting for his support in order to achieve the desired objectives.
She told the Governor that increased in the number of sexual and gender based violence in the society necessitated the formation of the committee as part of her concern for the plight of women and children.
Meanwhile, during the visit Chairperson of the committee, Mrs. Esther Ahmed applauded the Governor for his resilient and support to the first lady Hajiya Aisha by carrying out a number of humanitarian activities throughout the state.
Mrs. Ahmed enumerated some of the achievements of the committee since its inception to carry out such an important assignment for humanity.
“One of the silent point takeaway from the state police commissioner is the issue of handling police men and women who understands what sexual and gender base violence is, and we solicited for them to have desk officers who will directly deal with this people and he gave assurance to establish desk officers to 20 local governments areas,” she added.
Ahmed maintained that in collaborative effort, the committee reached out to some organisations and announced that the United Nations Women (UNW) with partners from International Alert (IA), informed the committee that they are willing to offer training for members of the action committee on gender base violence, which is very significant in their quest.