The federal government in conjunction with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and other stakeholders have started finding lasting solution to the issue of gender-based violence in schools across the country.
To this extent, a committee that would chart a comprehensive legal pathway for the prosecution of perpetrators of school-related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) in Nigeria was inaugurated on Monday.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Abuja, the Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Beatric Jedy-Agba, observed that Children have the right to be protected against all forms of violence, whether at home or in school.
She therefore tasked the committee to develop a Standard Operating Procedure as a standard working tool/guideline to guide key stakeholders in Basic Education Institutions across Nigeria to respond to cases of SRGBV when they occur.
Jeddy-Agba, stated that the SRGBV Committee would therefore work together with the SGBV Response Unit to facilitate and develop this document to provide a routine procedure to respond to these cases in schools.
The SGF called on members of the committee selected from diverse agencies to undertake this task and to provide a safe space for Nigerian children in schools.
She said, ” The opportunity this offers is critical, it is the result of the vision, the will, the commitment to create a safe space for our children and Nigeria; I hereby formally inaugurate a committee for the creation of a legal pathway for the development of a Standard Operating Procedure for the prosecution of perpetrators of School-Related Gender-Based Violence. “
Also speaking, a representative of UNESCO, Mr. Stephen Onyekwelu, stated that gender-based violence cannot be eradicated without education.
“Education is very good in trying to change one’s negative norms, attitudes and behaviour and we are doing several things to see how our educational system can address the issue of gender-based violence globally.
“We have worked with various secondary schools in the FCT establishing school gender classes, we supported in the revising the National Basic Education curriculum to improve some components of gender-based violence issues.
“We are working directly with the Federal Ministry of Education, currently revising the National healthcare policy for secondary schools which will be presented at the upcoming National Council of Education,” he added.
Onyekwelu described the event as the height of the effort in curbing gender based violence in the country.