A detailed report on the Emergency Stakeholders’ Meeting organised by Bays Planet Foundation on social violence and abuse. It held on the 16th of June, 2020, at Hands and Knees Vocational Centre, Araromi Ayo, Along F-Division, Ilorin, Kwara State. It held between the hours of 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
It is of no doubt that great people with passions and commitments are driven with pain on the issue of sexual abuse and domestic violence that has become a recurring event and now spreads like wildfire in Nigeria. This was derived from the clarion call of eminent personalities, stakeholders, Non – Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and selected individuals to an emergency meeting organized by Bays Planet Foundation (BPF) to discuss the possible solutions to the horrifying effect of sexual violence and abuse during this COVID–19 and the Post COVID–19 pandemic period.
Bays Planet Foundation (BPF) is an organisation established to provide sustainable solution to victims of sexual violence, child abuse, and other forms of while creating a safe space for humanity.
The meeting was presided over by an opening prayer followed by the welcome address by the Founder and Executive Director of Bays Planet Foundation, Ms. Baliqees Salaudeen and a brief introduction of attendees. An open remark was given by Barrister Anthonia who gave her insight about the recent murderous cases of abuse in Nigeria and enlightened us about a very recent rape case and scenes she encountered, days ago in Kwara State. “The occurrence of the murderous cases of rape occur as a result of ignorance of good people/organization in taking actions on this heinous act every time it arises”, said Barr. Anthonia.
A question was then directed to the representative of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (Officer Olalekan Sunday) on what our security agencies have been doing to curb this act. Officer Olalekan Sunday responded that the subject on rape cases has been a vital issue the security agencies have been working on before the pandemic but prevails as a result of the outburst of the COVID–19 pandemic. The reason for its occurrence lies in some transpiration agenda between the rape victim, rapist, parents and community. Some rape cases are not actually a rape case but acclaimed to be one, said Officer Olalekan. Before you can call a sexual act a rape, there must be a forceful coalition and penetration between the parties. He then concluded that the security agencies have some tips to ascertain whether a case can be regarded as rape or not. These include interrogating the victim, taking the victim’s medical report, captures of the scene where the event took place and observing any form of struggle during the process.
It is on this note that the officer was challenged by Miss. Saadat Bibire who gently asked if there is any form of training or orientation to officers on sexual violence and abuse. She noted that it is obvious that our security system has failed us on the Violence Against Persons Prosecution Act (VAPP Act) due to their lack of understanding of the principle of rape. She further challenged them to conduct intensive training for officers on rape and other forms of abuse and violence as our security officers take the case lightly and forget the duty of care leverage on the victim.
She then concluded that rape can occur without any evidence of a struggle and not necessarily occur in a corner. In a rape situation whether minor or major, the way a rape victim dress or her sexy looks should not be an excuse to rape. There are cases of rape with Hijabian sisters and holy mothers in Churches and Islamic gatherings. The strategic location of the occurrence is highly important and the rapist should be tracked down and put to justice while the victim gets adequate medication.
The convener of Coalition Against Abuse and Violence Mr. Atunde call on the lawmakers and urged the commissioners and other top officials present to support us in ensuring that the VAPP Act is domesticated, stating that this will help reduce drastically the rate of Abuse and Violence in our society.
Since the case requires medication, what is the modality set by the Ministry of Health on health responses and measures to curb rape, Ms Balqees asked the representative of the Commissioner of Health Dr. Bisi Oyeyipo. She responded that the past administration had taken a huge step on rape cases health wise. She noted that the past and present administration have been exerting great effort in giving adequate medication to rape victims. Dr. Oyeyipo however urges victims to make early report on the case and visit the nearest government hospital immediately for proper medical attention.
Barr. Anthonia shared her experience on the issue of free medication and proper healthcare for rape victims. She said she had been to the Civil Service Clinic severally on different rape cases but was always turned down with no care for the victim. The victim will only be told to check back in few days which seem wrong to healthcare work ethics. Dr. Oyeyipo then promised to take this up and ensure proper orientation is given to health practitioners on rape cases.
Also, the Honourable Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology asked that in a situation where there is no evidence of scratch what measure will be taken to cater for the victim health; will the medical attention rendered to victim, if any, be subsidized? The health representative further responded that when a rape case occurs in this situation some test shall be conducted to ascertain the case and then recommend immediate report of the case if it occurs.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sport and Youth Dev. asked about how advance is the country in using technology in a case where a rape victim dies and the rapist denies assaulting the victim. He responded that the system is yet to get there but gynecologists and other health practitioners present shall take note of any rape evidence seen.
A representative of the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiatives took us through the consequences of rape with its level of mental disorderliness, difficulties in healthy lives, and risky sexual behaviours, among others.
The representative of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Ezedikwe Benedict, recommends a robust sensitisation package on cases like this by BPF, including other organizations in the state. She also suggest that organisations with advocacy projects, sensitisation exercises, dialogue and summit on national development and sustainable growth can write to them for collaboration and submit their proposals and letter of intent with the organisation.
The Honourable Commissioner for Sport and Youth Dev. also gave enlightenment on this issue that victims should not be stigmatised and due processes as mentioned earlier should be adhered to. She further shared her prospective project thoughts as a war against sexual abuse. She expressed her readiness to collaborate with other MDAs, NGOs and Practitioners on limiting and eradicating the cases of sexual abuse.
Furthermore, the Honourable Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology also pledged her readiness to take necessary steps as to bring an end to the rape and sexual harassment issue in tertiary institutions by enlightening the parents, lecturers, students and also other government agencies on sex education through advocacy, dialogue and community sensitisation.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sport and Youth Dev. also expressed her thoughts on rape as a deadly crime that the Lord doesn’t support. She further expressed that since there is a provision of the law, the penal code and also child right law, proper measures should be taken by our security system in eradicating the issue of rape. The health system in providing adequate facilities to proof rape occurrence and proper healthcare to rape victims. She also encourage the National Orientation Agencies in collaboration with NGOs like Bays Planet Foundation and others to walk the talk, advocate for justice and fight for liberty, seek government support and partnership. Also, since the issue of rape drastically occurs among youths, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Development has ignited the strike of war against sexual violence and Abuse. She further commended the effort of BPF and urges the organization to make this advocacy robust when next.
Other organisations present were given the opportunity to make contribution and they all recommend a walk the talk policy, advocacy talk, sensitisation exercise, and partnership for the goal to fight for justice and freedom of discrimination to ensure sexual violence and abuse is abolished.
Ms. Baliqees Salaudeen appreciated everyone for deeming it fit to create time for the session even with their busy schedules. She said meetings like this will continue to occur either virtually or physically to track our respective and individual progress in putting a stop to this inhuman action.
However, the organisations in attendance are listed below;
|1||Kwara State Coordinator, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative.|
|2||Representative, Queen`s Liberty Foundation.|
|3||Representative, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative.|
|4||Representative, YALI Network, Kwara State.|
|5||Barrister Antonia, Founder, Theois Caregivers.|
|6||Omolara Alabi, Founder Girls2women Initiatives.|
|8||Baliqees Salaudeen, Founder and Executive Director Bays Planet Foundation.|
|9||Convener, Coalition of Advocates against Violence|
|10||Hon. Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology.|
|12||Representative of the State Director, National Orientation Agency.|
|13||Dr. Bisi Oyeyipo rep. Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Health, Kwara State.|
|14||Olojoku Suleiman, Kwara State Ministry of Health.|
|15||Representative of Nigeria Security & Civil Defense, Kwara State.|
|16||Mrs. Joana Nwazan Kolo. Hon. Comm. For sports & youth Development.|
|17||Mrs. Baure Iyabo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sport & Youth Dev.|
|18||Ashimiyu Kamal Alao|
|19||Victor Marcus Founder, Save an African Child.|
|20||Hussain Monsur: Rising Child Foundation|
|21||Almustaqim Balogun; Rising Child Foundation.|
|22||Saadat Bibire, Founder, Saadat Bibire Foundation.|
|23||Habeeb Dayo Aliyu; Bays Planet Foundation|
Top Recommendations from the Stakeholders meeting are:
- Domestication of the VAP Act.
- Introduction of pepper spray as a preventive tool for women, girls.
- Formal training for National Orientation Agency Staff to up their game and skills in sensitization and awareness.
- Formal training for health workers on how to attend to patients especially victims of abuse and violence.
- Improve collaboration between CSOs, NGOs, Government , Security Agency, Private organizations , academias, parents and guardians to work together and have a voice against all form of violence and abuse.
- Provision of immediate mental health support for victims of this menace.
- Educate the boy child.
- Creating more awareness and sensitisation programs.
You can access some of the pictures here
Bays Planet Foundation.
16th June, 2020.