The Nasarawa State Government has established a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH) Lafia.
Speaking at the inauguration of the centre on Monday (May 8, 2023) in Lafia, Hajiya Aisha Rufai-Ibrahim, Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development said the centre was established to handle cases of gender-based violence in the State.
The Commissioner explained that the inauguration of the centre was to demonstrate the State Government’s commitment to protect the rights of women and children.
She said that the centre would give hope to victims of sexual violence, treat them and give them the needed support to get justice.
Aisha Rufai-Ibrahim added that provision of healthcare services was one of the topmost priorities of the Governor Abdullahi Sule-led administration.
She explained that the Governor had given serious attention to issues of gender-based violence in the State in the last four years and would do everything possible to tackle the menace.
The Commissioner also commended Hajiya Silifat Sule, wife of the Governor for always partnering with the ministry to provide support for victims of gender based violence in the State.
She disclosed that the ministry has a situation room that monitors cases of gender based violence to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted to serve as deterrent.
Similarly, Abdulkarim Kana, Commissioner for Justice, represented by Barr. Justina Allu, Director Public Defender and Gender Based Violence at the ministry said the establishment of the centre was a welcoming development.
The Justice Commissioner added that unnecessary interference by community, traditional and religious leaders as well as highly placed persons was always hampering against getting justice for victims.
She appealed to victims and their families to always open up and also appealed to such influential personalities to desist from interfering with such cases to ensure smooth administration of justice and punishment of offenders.
On his part, Dr Hassan Ikrama, Chief Medical Director (CMD) of DASH, expressed gratitude to the Governor’s wife and the Nasarawa State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development for establishing the centre at the facility.
The CMD said the medical facility has been handling a lot of sexual-abuse related cases in the recent years and expressed worry on the increase of assault against women and the girl-child in the State.
He said the facility would deploy qualified and sufficient personnel to work at the centre for optimal performance.
Inaugurating the centre, Haj. Silifat Sule, wife of the State Governor said she would make sure that anybody that abuse a woman or girl is punish severely to serve as deterrent to others with similar intentions.
She said that records have shown that family members and neighbours were the perpetrators of most of the cases of sexual abuse in recent time.
The Governor’s wife called on parents not to leave their children under the care of anybody no matter how related they are to them without monitoring.