The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its quest to tackle the scourge of rape and other Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) in the country, has launched a mobile application tagged “UNSUB WEB”.
The application which was designed in collaboration with it’s partners, UNSUB, is aimed at coordinating responses for victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria.
While giving more insight on the technology at the unveiling ceremony of the Web in Abuja on Thursday, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, described rape and SGBV as global problems which require a coordinated national solution in order to make meaningful progress.
According to Ojukwu, the launch of the application was in furtherance of the commission’s desire to have coordinated responses as it sought to end the scourge.
”UNSUB WEB is a cutting edge technology designed to support responders to cases of SGBV to work in sync with others and to also keep track of progress with the aid of technology, ” Ojukwu said.
He revealed further that the commission had a dedicated staff strength in the 36 states of the federation and an automated 24 hour call centre with gender sensitive attendants who operationalize the UNSUB platform.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has concluded arrangements with NHRC to include it as one of the response agencies in the National Emergency Communications Center (ECC), this will avail us the use of the 112- toll free number as an added number for reporting SGBV and other human rights abuses,” he added.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the President of the Senate of Nigeria, Ahmed Lawan, said societies must continue to respond appropriately, not just to deter others, but to protect moral fiber, decency and good neighborliness.
Represented by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the Senate President observed that failure to be mindful of the rights of others is an invitation to social intervention through the appropriate legal framework.
The UNSUB according to him, would make methods of apprehension, resolution or management of the cases of SGBV in the country faster.
In her own speech, the Deputy Commissioner of the Police Force and Gender Coordinator, Margaret Ochalla, who represented the Inspector-General of Police, hinted that the Nigeria Police Force had launched its Gender Policy since 2012 and established Gender units in various police commands across the country. In her words, the units were launched due to the prevalence of sexual violence and the need to tackle it.
She said that the police had partnered with Ford Foundation on a two year sensitization and awareness program on preventing SGBV across the six- geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
While calling on major stakeholders to join in the fight against SGBV, she said the police would not relent in its efforts to investigate and prosecute offenders.
Representative of the Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking Persons (NAPTIP), Oluwakeji Lebi, told the gathering that the agency had been creating awareness on the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act( VAPP) and its capacity to act accordingly to redress violations.
Lebi said NAPTIP had rehabilitated and reintegrated SGBV victims and convicted a lot of criminals of such violence with the support among its partners and stakeholders.
“We at NAPTIP acknowledge the giant strides of the NHRC, CANs and key actors in coming up with the UNSUB application which makes reporting of cases of SGBV easily accessible, ” she said.
Also speaking, the President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, Rhoda Tyoden who was represented by her Deputy Country Vice President, Amina Agbaje, noted that SGBV affects women, girls, men and boys.
She also described SGBV as a major obstacle to the achievement of justice and a barrier to sustainable development, economic growth and lasting peace and further observed that if women, girls, men and boys are not safe, they cannot participate in the development of the society.
“Current findings by Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) and NAPTIP reports that over 10, 000 women and girls are raped daily in Nigeria. According to a 2014 UNICEF study, 25 per cent of Nigerian girls have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 compared with 10% of boys.
Another survey published by NOI polls in 2019 suggests that up to 33 per cent of girls in Nigeria could have experienced at least one form of sexual assault by the time they reach 25”, she added.
Going forward, she emphasized the need to explore innovative methods in curbing the ugly trend, stating that it would help reduce the stigma often associated with reporting cases of SGBV, bring enhanced coordination of services, better management of SGBV data and improved health status of survivors and justice outcomes,”.
By Olalekan Awojodu.