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The Government of Abia State has moved to set up a family and Gender-Based-Violence courts, this was related to the media by Okezie Ikpeazu, the Abia State Governor
Additionally, a GBV desk will be created at the State Ministry of Justice.
This was revealed by Ikpeazu at the “End GBV Summit,” a seminar tagged “Strengthening Evidence and Referral Pathways For Gender Based Violence Project in Abia State”. Nkechi Ikpeazu, the governor’s wife, spearheaded the initiative.
The state’s attorney general and commissioner for justice, Uche Ihediwa, spoke on behalf of Governor Ikpeazu, who promised to establish the GBV courts as soon as the state’s courts reconvene. Additionally, Ihediwa said that some magistrate courts would be assigned to handle GBV cases.
However, he bemoaned the fact that during litigation, GBV cases are oftentimes dismissed by the victim. He emphasized that everyone has a responsibility in prosecuting criminal offenders.
‘If we must deal with GBV once it occurs, we will pursue it to the end or it will continue’
He promised that the state government would make sure that the duration of GBV trials would be kept to a bare minimum and would allocate “extensive budgetary provision for GBV,’ until its establishment.
Nkechi Ikpeazu, the Chairperson, GBV State Action Committee implored the governor earlier in her address, asking him to initiate and enforce Family Court and GBV Court Rules in Abia state.
In her words ‘We shall also request that special courts be designated as GBV tribunals for quick dispensation of justice because one of the greatest barriers to reducing GBV is the slow hands of Lady Justice.’
‘We shall also demand that prosecutors everywhere should use the Violence Against Persons law to prosecute GBV cases, rather than any obsolete legislation.’
‘We shall further ask that upgraded facilities and equipment be given to the selected primary health care centers which have been designated as GBV case-friendly centers.’
‘Our intention going forward is to set up a sexual assault referral center as soon as possible to help with medical care and evidence gathering, so that we can reduce the challenges the police investigators face while trying to build a water-tight case,’ she stated.
This is a welcome development to tackle Gender-based violence and bring offenders to book.