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Sen Kingibe to deploy marshals to tackle gender-based violence in FCT communities

The senator plans to engage lawyers for pro bono services to fastback SBV cases to guarantee prosecution and convictions.

FCT senator, Ireti Kingibe [Twitter/@newsleverage]

Kingibe made this known in an interview on the sideline of the Beeta Arts Festivals, an event aimed at using arts to drive home the message of SGBV in Abuja.

She said the volunteers, to be called orange troopers, would be made up of 100,000 volunteers per state to galvanise grassroots fight against SGBV, adding that with that many people monitoring SGBV in communities, things would get better.

According to her, Nigeria seeks to empower individuals to stand against violence by fostering social conversations in collaboration with the National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) data Situation Room and dashboard.

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She said that since the UN inaugurated the Situation Room and dashboard, over 28,000 cases of GBV have been reported nationwide with over 9,000 cases opened against offenders, while over 8,000 cases were still pending in various courts.

She added that over 8,800 cases have been withdrawn either by the courts, community intervention, family and victims afraid or intimidated to withdraw their cases.

"The number of convictions are 455, really very small compared to the number of cases. Sadly, the number of fatalities from GBV are over 1,250.

"The orange Nigeria mandate is anchored on nine strategic orange forward constituency development programmes that empower Nigerians across 8,000 wards to take a stand against SGBV.

"One of the things I will be doing is that by mid-January, I am going to call for volunteers from FCT wards, they will be orange marshals who will monitor GBV in their respective wards and report it, until we do it that way, we can't make much impact.

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"There are laws already, it is the enforcement that is the problem. However, as a legislator, I will get those gender bills that were rejected to ensure that they get passed this time because this Senate is more gender aware and I am hopeful that those bills will pass."

Kingibe said that she would also engage lawyers for pro bono services to fastback SBV cases to guarantee prosecution and convictions.

Bikiya Graham-Douglas, an actress, who organised the event, said that it was aimed at using the power of storytelling to fight against SGBV in Nigeria.

Graham-Douglas said that various films were streamed to create awareness on SGBV to spur people to begin to help in addressing the SGBV menace.

"The Beeta Arts festival is our third year and the idea behind it is to tell stories from Africa on SGBV.

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"We are doing this because the soft power of creativity cannot be undermined. When you are able to capture SGBV in a film, you are able to connect with people's mind.

"That is why we are streaming these films during the 16 days of activism. I am a woman and I stand strongly against SGBV," she asserted.

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