April 20, 2024

NCD Set Up Desk Office To Handle Sexual, Gender Based Violence Referral Issues

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…As its conclude training, workshop on preventing human trafficking and responding to gender based violence

By Simeon OSAJIE

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The New Apostolic Centre for Development (NCD) has set up a deck office in Benin City, Edo State capital to handle sexual and gender based violence referral issues.

The office is working closely with the Vivian Centre established by Edo State government to manage issues of sexual and gender based violence.

While briefing newsmen in Benin City to round off the 2022 NCD Training and Workshop on Preventing Human Trafficking and Responding to Gender Based Violence, a member of the NCD Board of Trustee (BOT), Mr. Victor Oriakhi opined that till date, the centre has handled two cases, and out of the two cases, one was referred to the Vivian Centre while the other one was referred to the Edo State Ministry of Justice.

He said, it is about the last activity on NCD Preventing Trafficking in Persons and Responding to Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Edo State, project which centre has been implementing since June 2022.

Oriakhi highlighted the successes recorded with the project and showcase areas for follow up so as to sustain the fight against human trafficking and gender based violence in the State.

“The project was part of the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council in Nigeria,” he said.

Going further, the NCD Board member added, “available reports from NAPTIP, International Organisation for Migration (IMO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other organisations confirm this position. The NCD project acknowledged the role of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in dealing with the challenge of human trafficking.

“The project also took note of effort by Edo State government to tackle human trafficking and other forms of gender based violence through the Edo State Taskforce against Human Trafficking (ETAHT) established in August, 2017, whose work has been backed by law, as well as the effort and proclamation of the Oba of Benin. The project as well recognized the operationalization of Edo State Violent Against Persons Prohibition Law, leading the establishment of the Vivian Centre and the constitution of the GBV management committee.

“The project activities were built around collaboration with government agencies, CSOs, media Practitioners and others, capacity building around legal framework on human trafficking, GBV as well as government response, extensive public awareness activities involving town hall meeting, development and airing of radio jingles, featuring on radio to discuss the issues, design and dissemination of newsletter, the sharing of podcast on social media, production of IEC materials and press conference.

“The project goal was to increase awareness on the danger of trafficking in persons and improve response to sexual and gender based violence in Edo State.”

Speaking on the objectives of NCD, Mr. Oriakhi said, “(1) to strengthen the capacity of women led organizations and vulnerable groups to understand the provisions of relevant laws that responds to trafficking in persons and GBV in Edo State; (2) to undertake public awareness activities to prevent trafficking in person and increase awareness on the role of the sexual assault referral Centre (Vivian Centre) in Edo States.”

According to Mr. Oriakhi, “we are glad to inform you that the project has largely achieved the purpose for which it was designed and has also thrown up emerging issues that will require follow up actions by civil society organizations, media and the public.

“The training and extensive public awareness activities have led to more citizens accessing the Edo State Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Vivian Centre) to report GBV cases. Record obtained from the Vivian Centre showed that the centre recorded more cases between June and November 2022 when NCD implemented the preventing human trafficking and responding to gender based violence in Edo State project.

“As at the time the project commenced in June 2022, the centre had received only about 600 cases since inception. But by November 24″, 2022, the number of cases reported to the centre increased to 1079 and some of the victims confirmed that they knew about the centre from the radio programme. This shows that out training and public awareness initiatives got to the target audience. As we speak now, NCD’s radio jingle is still running on KU FM, Benin City, 7.56am and 4.56pm daily, till about early January 2023.

“The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has also confirmed to us that they now receive more cases in their office on daily bases due to increased awareness rising on issues of human trafficking through NDC’s programme and that of other stakeholders. According to NAPTIP, more people are now aware on the dangers and effect of human trafficking and that if they must migrate, the public now have information as to where to get vital information on how to travel right.

“NCD has now set up a desk office to handle sexual and gender based violence referral issues. The office is working closely with the Vivian Centre established by Edo State government to manage issues of sexual and gender based violence. This was a major outcome of NCD’s today workshop on preventing human trafficking and responding to gender based violence in Edo State, held in Benin City from August 31, 2022 to September 1, 2022. Till date, NCD has handled two cases, one of the case was referred to the Vivian Centre while the other one was referred to the Edo State Ministry of Justice.

“Our anti-trafficking and GBV response messages have reached millions of people in Edo State and other parts of the world. This we were able to achieve through our radio programme, media reports, podcast and social media campaign.”

The NCD board member promised to sustain the campaign beyond the life span of this project.

“We cherish the partnership with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Edo State Task Force Against Human Trafficking and the Vivian Centre. We will continue to work with these agencies and other organisations to advance our work on preventing human trafficking and responding to gender based violence.

“Our GBV desk is opened here at the NCD office, Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm and we encourage members of the public to take advantage of this opportunity to report cases of gender based violence and human trafficking. want to specially appreciate the British Council that made it possible for NOC to receive mentorship and funding through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme just to also appreciate the European Union for providing the resources to fund the UU-ACT Project.

“We assure you that even as the project is coming to an end, NCD’s work on the issues will be sustained,” he said.

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