From Chuma Austin, Enugu
A Special investigation panel on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, (SGBV) inaugurated by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said that it received a total of 130 cases on human rights violation in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, disclosed this while speaking at the commencement of its hearing in Enugu last Monday.
Ojukwu noted that the South East accounted for the highest number of cases with thirty-five, representing 30% of the total complaints received.
The NHRC scribe explained that the panel was constituted as a result of the complaint received on April 26, 2019, where armed security personnel led by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, (AEPB) under the auspices of the FCT Joint Task Force raided night clubs and the streets of Abuja.
“They claimed that the raids were intended to arrest prostitutes which about 71 women were arrested and held in different police stations in Abuja”, he added.
According to him, “In these raids, nine or very few men were arrested. Victims of the raid made serious allegations of rape, sexual harassment, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments”.
Ojukwu said that the incident raised an outcry on the SGBV menace in homes, work places, church places, and other places of worship. “The case of little Ochanya in Benue state can also not be overemphasize”, Ojukwu noted.
“Details of the terms of reference of the panel, include but not limited to review extant laws and regulations applicable to joint task forces in all the states and FCT in particular, especially the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and whether such laws and regulations are compliant with Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution and other international human rights conventions and protocols applicable to Nigeria.
“Others are to identify individuals directly responsible for any violations and abuses and make recommendations for further actions including but not limited to prosecutions, disciplinary proceedings and damages amongst others.
“The National Human Rights Commission commended the complainants and the public for the courage to lodge and follow up their complaints and submit memoranda to this Panel despite some reported cases of intimidation.
“I want to reiterate the assurance of this Panel and the Commission’s commitment to the principles of fair hearing in discharging its functions” Ojukwu said.
The National Human Rights Commission also thanked the Governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his support in providing a convenience climate for Human Rights works in the state through zero tolerance to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).