Sexual Harassment
The SJN is seeking the implementation of laws against sexual and gender-based violence.

SJN: Implement Laws Against Sexual And Gender-Based Violence

The Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Justice Network (SJN), a coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations, has advocated for laws that will punish persons found guilty of sexual violence against women and children, as a means to curtail the ugly trend that is rampant in society.

They opined that the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) law will serve the purpose, if operational.

The coalition gave these hints at a workshop held for journalists in Enugu while seeking their hands of fellow in the fight against the scourge.

The State coordinator of SJN, Margaret Obiegue, noted there was a need to implement the VAPP law and the ACJ law in the State, because of the benefits.

She lamented that the two laws have been domesticated in Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna and Osun states and made a passionate plea to various stakeholders for its implementation in the state.
“Our key focus is on; upgrading TAMARSARC, the establishment of SGBV Court, development of practice direction, the establishment of VAPP regulatory body and expanding of jurisdiction to the chief magistrate to try rape cases.

“The common issue that cuts across the target states is the lack of adequate and effective implementation of the laws and a non-state agency that has the responsibility of ensuring implementation and oversight. This sensitization session with media practitioners and journalists on ACJL and VAPPL implementation across project states is to leverage 9n media networks and agencies to amplify the SJN advocacy.

“It is also to ask and elicit action from relevant stakeholders on its policy reform objectives, in order to streamline the discussions towards achieving a significant outcome centred on sexual and gender-based violence.”

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The Chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ) Enugu State Chapter, Comrade Ngozi Ngene, in her speech, urged media workers to drum support for the implementation of the ACJL and VAPP laws in the State.

She stated that since many people are not aware of the laws, society tends to protect the perpetrators of sexually-based violence rather than the victims of such violence and mentioned that the media have to inform the public and highlight the punishment involved, should anyone contravene the law.

The resource person, Barr. Nnenna Anozie, described ACJL as restorative justice explaining that the essence of the reformed law is not for punitive measures, but to ensure that justice is done and dispensed within a record time without unnecessary delay.

According to her, several SGVB cases suffered delays in the courts because of the prosecutors’ and lawyers’ failure to understand the ACJL, stating that under the ACJL, only the court has the constitutional authority to declare someone criminal.

She added that VAPPL has removed the difficulty of proving SVGB cases in court and urged survivors of sexual and gender-based violence to report to the appropriate authorities and seek legal redress.

She noted that the perpetrator’s rights should be observed, while survivors should be paid compensation for their losses and trauma if proven in court.

She urged the public to read the ACJ and VAPP laws, in order for them to know their rights.

The Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Justice Network ( SJN) is an advocacy cluster funded by USAID which includes SJ NAWOJ, Agbani Farm as well as Lawyers Alert, and the Nigerian League of Women Voters among others.