SGBV: FIDA Commences Training of Paralegals to Fast Track Prosecution of Culprits in Bauchi
By Bashir Hassan Abubakar
Concerned by the rampant cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Bauchi State and tampering of evidence by victims or their parents, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Bauchi State branch has commenced a Two Days intensive training of ten paralegals selected from four local government areas of the State.
Addressing the participants shortly before the commencement of the training in Bauchi on Thursday, state Chairperson of FIDA, Barrister Fatima Abubakar said the objective of the training was to acquaint the participants on the basic knowledge of what they are expected to do in their communities with regards to cases of SGBV and other domestic violence against women and other vulnerable groups inline with the laws of the land.
She emphasized that the training will develop the capacities of the participants to contribute to protecting the rights of women and children with a better understanding of relevant laws that protects such groups.
Abubakar particularly expressed her worry over instances where victims or their parents tamper with evidence by washing off such evidence before reporting such cases to the authorities.
This, according to the chairperson, in most cases makes it very difficult to prove such cases in the court of law.
“Because of your closeness to the grassroots, we are counting on you to enlighten your people on the need to allow justice takes it course without tampering with evidence on the body of the victim.
“Though we are not training you to become lawyers, but you are going to be our ears and eyes in your communities by creating awareness on evidence tampering and ensuring such dastard acts are promptly reported to local authorities immediately it happens”, said FIDA Chairperson.
Abubakar said as pioneer paralegals in the State and with the training, the onus now lays with the participants to prove to the world that they can make a difference towards mitigating SGBV and other domestic violence in their respective communities.
She further reiterated that FIDA will leverage it’s experience working on the newly passed Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) and other related laws to support the training and engagement of community paralegals across the entire 20 LGAs of Bauchi State.
Abubakar disclosed that participants will be taken through presentations that centres around Notion of Paralegal, Law and System, Conflict Resolution and Counselling Skills.
Other topics to be treated includes Community Engagement, Gender and Sexual Based Violence and Marriage and Related Issues.
There were goodwill messages from some members of the bench, state ministry of justice and the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists, pledging their support and encouraging the participants to avail their selves the opportunity of the training by becoming community champions against SGBV in the state.
Some of the participants expressed their readiness to assist FIDA in their fight against SGBV and also promised to bring to bear what they will learn during the capacity training.
Our correspondent reports that resource persons for the training were drawn from the bench, with some magistrate court judges taking the participants through the topics in a participatory manner.