By Albert Akota
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) have set modalities in place to strengthen their collaboration in dealing with cases of rape and other Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) brought before them.
At a working visit to the Acting Inspector General Force Intelligence, Ibrahim Lamorde in his office in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu Esq. said it has become imperative to activate the Bi-monthly meeting between the Commission and the Police.
Ojukwu stated that the meeting will be well focused to deal with all human rights cases which deserve urgent attention from the police especially cases of SGBV which is now a pandemic.
Continuing, the NHRC Boss said “the the Commission’s work to effectively discharge its mandate in dealing with certain violations cannot be complete without relating with the police, we need the police to coordinate timely response to save lives”.
He noted that there is an urgent need to build the capacity of Human Rights and Gender Desk Officers in all the Police Commands across the country, to ensure professionalism and efficiency in dealing with numerous cases generally and rape/SGBV cases in particular.
Ojukwu attributed this to the unprofessional conducts in handling the cases by police officers who stigmatize survivors through dismissive comments, describing it as highly unacceptable.
Responding the AIG Force Intelligence expressed gratitude to the Commission for the visit, noting that stigmatization makes rape cases thrive and that it needs to be addressed from the point where survivors report the incident to the police.
He said officers need to understand the magnitude of the problem they create when they discourage survivors due to their unprofessional conduct.
AIG Lamorde further advocated for a special court to ensure accelerated hearing, provide enabling environment to ensure privacy for survivors and encourage them to speak out freely when they present their cases during hearing.