Adamawa opens Sexual Assault Centre to tackle rise in Sexual Violence

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On March 27, 2018, officials of the Adamawa State Government as well as representatives of civil society gathered for the commissioning of the Adamawa Hope Centre, a sexual assault referral centre, in Yola. According to the Chief Medical Director of Yola Specialist Hospital, Bala Saidu, the establishment of the facility is in response to the increase of sexual violence against women in Adamawa and other North-eastern states. These crimes against women include rape, kidnapping, torture, molestation, sexual harassment and trafficking among others.He noted that Yola Specialist Hospital records at least two cases of rape weekly and that crimes against females have increased despite punitive sanctions getting stricter. He also lamented that the poorer sections of society and minors are prime targets of rape.
While commissioning the centre, the wife of Adamawa State Governor, Maryam Jibrilla, decried the increasing incidence of rapes especially among teenagers and advised parents to be careful over their female children as “female children have become more vulnerable and exposed to sexual assault.”According to Mohammed Tabiu, the National Programme Manager of the Managing Conflicts in Nigeria (MCN) who also spoke at the event, “The Adamawa Hope Centre is expected to address the huge gap in support services for victims of sexual assault by providing free and immediate emergency medical treatment, trauma counseling as well as legal advice where necessary.The programme is also to enhance state and community level conflict management capacity into violence in the targeted states through free inter-related areas of work. MCN Programme is partnering with the Adamawa State ministries of Health, Justice and Women Affairs to provide care for the survivors and help them cope with the trauma.” Mr. Tabiu explained that the operations of the centre will not only be based on a “victim-focused and non-judgmental approach which is critical for recovery of survivors but will also provide forensic medication examination services by trained doctors and nurses”.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Silas Sanga, said the centre is a one-stop facility to deal with all sexual abuses. He said the concept started with the state ministry of justice but “there was no collaboration for effective implementation.”
Mr. Sanga advocated the punishment of a minimum of 21 years and a maximum of life imprisonment for offenders in rapes cases to serve as deterrent to others.

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