In Abuja, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, disclosed the government’s commitment to crafting standard operating procedures (SoP) aimed at instituting a legal avenue for addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in schools. This announcement took place during the national close-out/handover ceremony of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative project, orchestrated by the United Nations to combat violence against women and girls in Nigeria.
Fagbemi emphasised the urgency to combat the escalating rates of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) through this initiative, backed by collaborations with UN agencies and funded by UNESCO under the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative. He outlined the initiative’s focus on creating SoPs specifically targeting GBV occurrences within educational institutions. These SoPs aim to facilitate immediate responses to GBV incidents within schools.
“The establishment of situation rooms at the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Ministry of Justice will offer real-time solutions to GBV cases, further strengthening collaboration among key ministries,” Fagbemi remarked.
Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, represented at the event, acknowledged the initiative’s effectiveness in combating GBV. He emphasized the importance of sustaining the program’s impact by integrating its activities into broader strategic plans.
Dr. Haliru Ndanusa, Emir of Shonga and Deputy Convenor-General of the Council of Traditional Leaders in Africa (COTLA), lauded the initiative as a significant commitment in tackling SGBV, recognizing its substantial impact on society and advocating for its continual success.
Mr. Mathias Schmale, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, highlighted the tangible difference made by the Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria since its inception in 2019, impacting over 60,500 women and girls with valuable services. He stressed the necessity of securing commitments from governments and stakeholders to sustain the Initiative’s progress.
Amb. Samuela Isopi, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, hailed the Spotlight Initiative as a monumental endeavour against GBV, citing the collaboration between the EU and the UN as a transformative change necessary for societal betterment.
The ceremony featured a video documenting the Initiative’s results and impacts, stage performances addressing SGBV, discussions on the Initiative’s accomplishments, and the official declaration of the project’s closure and handover.