The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has decried the recent spate of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
NAPTIP director-general Fatima Waziri-Azi stated this at a sensitisation and dialogue meeting with community leaders drawn from the six area councils of the FCT on Thursday.
Ms Waziri-Azi said the agency received a report of 1,100 cases of domestic SGBV between January and October.
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According to her, the rate of violence against women in the FCT has become alarming, hence the sensitisation to address the menace, revealing that out of the number of cases reported within the period, 126 were investigated. Twenty-six were resolved through mediation – alternative dispute resolution, reconciliation and arbitration.
The NAPTIP boss added that out of the 126 cases investigated, 54 were withdrawn based on the complainants’ request, while others were filed at the court.
“Most times when people come to report, and we start (an) investigation, sometimes we file those matters in court and start prosecution, the next thing the woman will write seeking to withdraw the case,” the anti-trafficking chief explained. “Inasmuch as it is their right to decide to withdraw the case, we as an agency become usually very curious to know the reason.”
Ms Waziri-Azi added, “I tell you that 100 per cent of the time, the reason why women withdraw these cases from the agency is because of societal pressure from family, community leaders and fear of deprival.”
The NAPTIP director-general said the agency had secured four convictions, with 84 cases pending in court.
“Majority of these cases, including battery, were reported from Abuja municipal area council. A lot of cases where men hit their wives and push them out of the house, child abuse, we have seen a lot of these around AMAC,” stated Ms Waziri-Azi. “Some of them are currently with us at our shelters as we investigate them.”
The NAPTIP boss also talked about cases of abandonment of children from parents, either of both and cases of abandonment of wives and children from the fathers.