The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, on Monday commenced special investigation into cases bordering on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, SGBV, in Sokoto State, urging survivors to open up.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the investigation panel, headed by the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, begun the two-day exercise in Sokoto, with more than 10 complaints so far submitted to it.
The investigation was being conducted by NHRC, in collaboration with the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project, aimed at elimination Violence Against Women and Girls, VAWG.
Mr Ojukwu said that the panel would entertain testimonies on abuse cases in the last 10 years, identify individuals responsible for violation of human rights especially women and girls, and make appropriate recommendations to competent authorities for remedies.
He added that the investigation would provide opportunity for human rights stakeholders to contribute to the development of appropriate strategies to prevent occurrence and implement policy guidelines for holding perpetrators accountable.
He explained that the investigation was aimed at raising public awareness on the need to speak out and to report cases of SGBV, put an end to impunity and for appropriate redress.
Justice Muhammad Muhammad of Sokoto State High Court who represented the Chief Judge of Sokoto State, Justice Sa’idu Sifawa, commended NHRC for efforts to safeguard peoples’ rights.
Mr Muhammad said women needed to be protected in the society as their values and sanctity must be guarded and cherished.
He stressed that citizens should ensure no molestation of women and girls in all forms in the society, and must accord them all the required respect.
The judge urged the panel members to consider all relevant laws available in the state in their investigation.
Malam Ibrahim Tudun Doki, who spoke on behalf of Civil Society Organisations, described the effort
as timely, noting that many cases occurred unreported and urged stakeholders to live up to expectations.
NAN reports that the programme was attended by some survivors and their families, perpetrators,
representatives of NAPTIP, security agencies, civil society organisations, journalists and others.