Clean Technology Hub joined other organizations worldwide to celebrate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence 2022, tagged “Unite to End Violence against Women and Girls”. Supported by the Foundation for Partnership in the Niger Delta, Project Alert Nigeria, and the Akwa Ibom State Gender and Sexual Violence Action team, Clean Technology Hub conducted a series of activities in Akwa Ibom State. These included capacity building and entrepreneurship training, awareness and enlightenment campaigns. CTH also hosted a virtual campaign for the full 16 days rounding up the activities with a webinar.
Gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria is a problem as in many other parts of Africa. There is a deep cultural belief in Nigeria that it is socially acceptable to hit a woman and to discipline a spouse. Hence, violence against women shows no signs of lessening in Nigeria.
Common forms of violence against women in Nigeria are rape, acid attacks, molestation, wife beating, and corporal punishment. This is evident from the reported number of cases for the National Gender Based dashboard, reporting portal for the National Gender Based Violence dashboard of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Demographic and Health Survey 2018 reports the following:
▪ Experience of violence: Among women aged 15 — 49, 31% have experienced physical violence and 9% have experienced sexual violence; 6% of women have experienced physical violence during pregnancy.
▪ Spousal violence: 36% of ever-married women have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence. The prevalence of one or more of these forms of spousal violence was higher in 2018 than in 2008 (31%) and 2013 (25%).
▪ Injuries due to spousal violence: 29% of ever-married women who have experienced spousal physical or sexual violence have sustained injuries; 26% reported cuts, bruises, or aches, and 9% reported deep wounds and other serious injuries.
▪ Help-seeking: 55% of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence have never sought help to stop the violence; only 32% have sought help, approximately the same percentage as in 2013 (31%). Women’s own families are the most common source of help.
Nigeria passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 2015, now domesticated in 33 states. The VAPP law provides clear guidelines on abuses and penalties. Analysts also say the law reduces the bottlenecks previously existing in other laws that were barriers to diligent prosecution of cases.
It has been eight years since the passage and domestication of the law by over 90% of the country. There is still poor awareness of its provisions, offenses as listed, processes for reporting, and how and where to seek justice.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of trafficking in persons Nigeria (NAPTIP) is the agency saddled with the prosecution of abuse cases under this act. However, state governments have set up State Sexual and Gender-based violence response teams to create awareness, advocacy, counseling for abuse victims, and prosecute cases of abuse. The Nigerian Police has also established gender units to address issues of gender and sexual-based violence.
Clean Technology Hub’s 16 Days of Activism Project
Participants of the 16 days of activism against gender capacity building workshop at Uyo with members of the CTH Team.
The project focused on women, youth, and children (both boys and girls) living in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. The age group included the following (8–17 ) children, (18–35) youth, women (35–80).
The capacity building workshop had 200 women and young girls in attendance, the school sensitization activity had 200 children( 106 boys and 94 girls) in attendance.
An advocacy and sensitization program was carried out on Comfort FM Uyo which has a social media following of 6,476 on Instagram, 5,000 members on Facebook, 555 on Twitter and transmits across the 31 LGA in Akwa Ibom state. According to the Akwa Ibom State online directory, the state has a population of up to 4 million.
Clean Technology Hub also conducted a digital campaign throughout the 16 days of activism against GBV. This digital campaign employed various strategies to sensitize and advocate to stakeholders and the general public on GBV policies and laws, climate and gender justice, and climate action in Nigeria.
Some beneficiaries of the capacity building workshop were gifted clean cooking stoves by the Clean Technology Hub Team.
The VAPP Law
Acknowledging the challenge with public understanding and accessibility of the VAPP law during this campaign, Clean Technology Hub broke down the provisions of the VAPP law and disseminated them across various digital platforms.
The provisions of the VAPP law have been broken down for easy understanding as follows:
- Rape: Penetration of the Mouth, Anus, Vagina or any other part without consent. If the consent was obtained by means of threat, intimidation, fear of harm, false and fraudulent representation. Penalty for rape is from 12 years to life imprisonment with no option of fine.
- Physical injury : Hitting a person with a weapon or any other object and causing harm. The penalty includes a 5 year imprisonment or fine of 100,000 0r both.
- Anyone who forces a person into any act against their physical or psychological well being is liable to 3 year prison term.
- Placing a person in fear of physical injury is a crime punishable by 2 year prison term or N200,000 fine or both.
- A person who compels or forces another to engage in sexual acts detrimental to their wellbeing ( Eg Forced anal or BDSM) commits a crime liable to punishment of 2 year imprisonment or N500,000 fine or both.
- Female Genital Mutilation; any sort of cutting, pressing against the female child is a crime which can be punished with a prison term of 4 years in Prison, a fine of N200,000 or both.
- Forceful Eviction: A person who forcefully ejects their spouse from their home or refuses them access commits a crime punishable by a 2 year prison term. or a fine of N300,000 or both.
- Forced Financial Dependence/ Forced Isolation: Preventing a spouse who wants to work from working thereby imposing economic dependence is a crime punishable by a prison term of 2 years imprisonment, a fine not more than N200,000 or both. Forcing a spouse to cut off from family and friends is punishable by 6 months prison term.
- Destruction of property: Willfully destroying property of another is a crime punishable by 2 year prison term, a fine of up to N300,000 or both.
- Spousal Abandonment: Any spouse who abandons their spouse, partners, and dependents without a means of sustenance commits a crime punishable by 3 year prison term or. a fine of up to N300,000 or both.
- Verbal and Emotional Abuse: Punishable by 1 year Prison term or fine of up to N200,000 or both.
- Administering harmful substance : A person who administers any substance to be taken with the intention of overpowering another person and having sexual activity with them is liable upon conviction to 10 year prison term, a N500,000 fine or both.
- A person who frustrates and impedes an investigation on violence against persons is liable upon conviction to a prison term of 3 years.
- Stalking: A person who stalks another commits a crime and is liable on conviction to a term of 2 years or a N500,000 fine or both.
- False Information and Statement oral or written in the judicial process is liable on conviction to a term of 12 Months , a fine of N200,000 or both.
- Whoever, supports, aids and abets anyone who commits any of the listed crimes are also liable under the law.
- Harmful Widowhood Practices: A Person who subjects a Widow to harmful harmful traditional practices commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a prison term of 2 year imprisonment, a fine of N500,000 or both.
- Intimidation: A person who intimidates another commits an offense and is liable upon conviction to a prison term of 1 year, a fine of N200,000 or both.
- Harmful Substance: A person who uses chemical, biological or other harmful substances on another commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a prison term of 25 years with no option of fine.
- Political Violence: A Person who commits the offense of political violence is liable on conviction to a prison term of 2 years or a fine of N300,000 or both.
- Political Violence by State Actors: A state actor who commits political violence commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a prison term of 4 years, a fine of N1,000,000 or both.
- Incest: A person who commits incest commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a prison term of 10 years without bail, where both parties agree without force or threat to commit incest, they are liable on conviction to a prison term of 5 year imprisonment and no option of fine.
- Exposure: A person who exposes their genitals with the intention of causing distress to another commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a prison term of 1 year or a fine of N500,000 or both.
Sexual and gender-based violence is an injustice that must be addressed. Continued sensitization, advocacy and keying into global campaigns like the UN women’s 16 days of advocacy campaign, will enable us to hold policy makers accountable, as we continue to work towards a just and equal world for all.
*Aishatu Ella-John is Manager, Environment and Climate Action at Clean Technology Hub.