The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Benue Office and the Civil Organisations Research Advocacy and Funding Initiatives Development (CORAFID) have insisted that due justice must be served in the case of Elizabeth Ochanya who suffered five years of sexual abuse until her death.
The 13 years old Ochanya died of Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and other health complications at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi as a result of being subjected to years of sexual abuse.
This was contained in a communique issued by the Executive Facilitator of CORAFID, Mr. Nathaniel Awuapila and the Benue State Coordinator of NHRC, Mr. Joshua Tyoyer, at the end of One-Day Town Hall meeting in Markudi to mark the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with the theme: “Let’s Stand Up For Equality, Justice And Human Dignity”.
More than 20 organisations and individuals participated during the Town Hall including a governorship aspirant in the State, Mr. Aondohemba Tseayo of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), representative of Office of Special Adviser to the Executive Governor on SDGs/Development Cooperation, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Benue State Child Protection Network (BnSCPN), and FIDA that also served on the panel of discussion.
To this end, the NHRC, CORAFID and over 20 other organisations that participated at the meeting maintained that only due justice will serve as adequate deterrent to predators, paedophiles, and human rights violators of all description.
According to the communique, stakeholders at the meeting identified Knowledge gap as many citizens do not know their rights, inadequate awareness on the availability of legal tools and institutional apparatus for demanding redress of rights violation as major issues on human rights.
Other issues of concern include: Inadequate checks and balances to promote and protect the rights of citizens at all levels; Institutional failures such as inadequate budgetary allocation to enable them perform optimally; Inadequate government commitment to respond to human rights issues; and Society lacks adequate understanding of the workings of various government bodies saddled with the responsibility of protecting and demanding for the rights of citizens.
To this end, the stakeholders in the communique called on the government, particularly the State House of Assembly, to pass or domesticate the necessary laws to protect persons who are left behind including IDPs, Physically Challenged, Women and Girls, and Children
The communique also stressed the need to improve on the awareness of human dignity particularly in rural areas including the rights of children, women, and persons with disabilities.
It opined that Government needs to be more proactive and less reactionary on issues of human rights and restore state and community checks and balances to promote and enforce the rights of all citizens
The communique also urged for the full operationalization of the Family Court in the State and the need to ensure the return of the IDPs across the State to their original homes as well as inadequate security system in Benue State hampers effort to guarantee adequate security of lives and property