The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, in Kaduna recorded 524 complaints of Sexual and gender-based violence against women in 2021.
The State Coordinator of the Commission, Terngu Gwar, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Kaduna.
Mr Gwar stated that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation that impacts on and impedes progress in many areas of their lives.
He attributed the rise in SGBV to COVID-19 pandemic, stating that the pandemic brought about restriction of movement and many people lost their jobs.
The coordinator said the pandemic made so many people lost their jobs and this brought about poverty which fuels bitterness and anger in people.
He said in 2021, out of 524 of the cases ‘received, 224 are primarily on Domestic Violence on women, even though there are other various forms of Violence against women and girls.
“Other violence such as rape, child abandonment, forceful marriage, trafficking, threat to life and custody/ access to children.
“233 out of the cases reported have been concluded, while the rest were still being attended to,” he stated.
The coordinator stated that the commission do not only receive complain but also mediate on reconciliation of matters among couples and families.
“The commission mediate on reconciliation of matters such as domestic violence, child/family abandonment and custody/ access to children.
“The commission however does not mediate reconciliation on criminal cases like rape and trafficking, as such cases are handed over to the police and who will then take it court,” he noted.
Gwar further stated that there is increase in awareness about human rights, which explains the increase in number of petitions we are getting from people and organisations.
He said it is not as if the violations have not been there before, maybe many people were not protesting, but now, many are speaking out and more are bringing complaints to the commission.
“Many women now have voices, they have the social media, they know places to take their complain to, voice out their violations and this is making people to be aware of what is going on,” he said.
He also said the commission had carried out various programmes and activities including holding public hearings on domestic violence.
The coordinator said the commission do communities outreach, radio programs and visit secondary schools to sensitive the pupils and also teachers on SGBV.
He added that more sensitisation was needed at the grassroots level so that people would become more conscious of protecting and enforcing their rights and the consequences and punishments that await any culprit
The coordinator called for more grassroots sensitisation for people to become more aware of the importance of protecting and enforcing their rights, as well as the consequences and punishments awaiting any perpetrators.
Mr Gwar, therefore, urged civil society organisations, CSOs, traditional authorities, and religious leaders to take the lead in combating the scourge of domestic violence.
He also urged concerned parties to place a greater emphasis on public education or awareness of domestic violence, as well as the implementation of existing laws and regulations that could help to establish a culture of accountability around the issues.