With support from the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme, the Borno State House of Assembly passed key legislations aimed at addressing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism campaign. The bills included the Child Rights Act (CRA) and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP).
A series of advocacy initiatives were held leading up to the campaign. A webinar was organised by the Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Initiative on the domestication of the laws. Over 40 participants were in attendance. Discussions focussed on how to ensure the effective implementation of the legislations aimed at addressing SGBV. The participants advocated to the State House of Assembly to make the passage of the bills during the 16 Days of Activism as symbolic significance in commemorating the day.
A Town Hall meeting was organised by the National Human Rights Commission and the Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Initiative to engage the legislature and executive on the passage of the CRA and VAPP laws. When concerns were raised that the CRA may conflict with religious and cultural norms on upbringing and discipline of children, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development informed participants that some of the controversial provisions have been reviewed to address stakeholder concerns. The Borno State House of Assembly also provided an update on the status of the two bills and highlighted that the House was set to pass them for onward transmission to the Executive Governor for Assent.
“The Child Rights Act was a welcome development. It will help address the rampant withdrawal of cases of sexual assault and truncating of the judicial process. With the law, it would not be possible to withdraw cases where victims are children and underaged.”
Fatima Usman Kida, Ministry of Justice
“The town hall meeting was an avenue to highlight the issue of rape in the community to stakeholders. It should be a continuous exercise to allow for sustained action to deal with the situation.”
Shehu Abba, District head, Kumshi, Bama, Borno State