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Violence against women: FCT gets Nigeria’s first response team

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…Nneoma Ndibe


The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has set up Nigeria’s first Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team to help tackle the growing cases of violent attacks on women and other vulnerable groups in the country, especially in the Nation’s Capital, Abuja.

The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello who inaugurated the violence response team at the ministry’s conference room in Abuja on Tuesday, pledged the commitment of the administration in the campaign against domestic and sexual violence in the territory.

Bello noted that the violence response team was established by the FCTA in conjunction with the Rule of Law Office in the Office of the Vice President.

He stressed that the commitment and the will that will enable the team succeed in this task in not lacking in anyway.

He said: “This has been demonstrated in the level of commitment shown by the Rule of Law Office in the Office of the Vice President because this whole development has been their initiative.

“They have worked round the clock and remained unwavering in ensuring that this dream becomes a reality.’’

The minister however, urged members of the team and other stakeholders to work together in ensuring that the team’s objectives were realized.

Earlier, the Rule of Law Advisor in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran said the establishment of the FCT response team would be a model for the rest of the country.

Adeniran said the approach adopted by stakeholders in the FCT was one that would be replicated across the country and would hopefully address the challenge of coordination in the campaign against domestic and sexual violence.

“I believe that pooling together all these resources and ideas will address the lack of coordination that has always been missing link in previous efforts aimed at curbing sexual violence,’’ he said.

He urged the team to be focused in its activities, stressing that tackling too many issues at a time would be counter-productive and might deviate from the goals and targets of the team.

Also speaking, the acting Secretary of the FCT Social Development Secretariat, Mrs. Elegbede Adebola said the establishment of the response team would go a long way in addressing some of the social problems experienced in the FCT.

“Gender-based violence constitutes a measure of social and public health problems that cuts across the strata of our society causing untold suffering to girls, women and to a lesser extent boys,’’ Adebola said.

She solicited the support of all stakeholders to enable the task force attain its objectives of eliminating the menace.

Representing the Legal Aid Council, the Director-General, Mrs. Joy Bob-Manuel assured stakeholders that having the response team in place would greatly address challenges relating to interventions in gender-based violence.

Bob-Manuel said the council has undertaken some reforms and now offers mediation services aside from the usual litigation that it used to do.

She commended the FCT Minister and the Rule of Law Advisor for the initiative and urged women and other victims of domestic violence to begin to speak out to enable them get justice from the appropriate quarters.

She urged more groups and individuals to refer cases to the council to enable it discharge its responsibilities to the public.

Representatives of other stakeholders present at the occasion spoke on the subject matter, while the inauguration of the team was the highpoint of the occasion.

Members of the response team also held their inaugural meeting to design a work plan for the implementation of its agenda.


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