Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi.

The governors of the 36 states in Nigeria have declared a state of emergency on sexual and gender-based violence.

This became necessary following an upsurge in the number of rape cases across the country.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, in a communiqué issued and signed at the 10th COVID-19 Teleconference meeting on Wednesday but released on Thursday, said the governors condemned all forms of violence against women and children and committed to ensuring that offenders face the maximum weight of the law.

The governors also resolved to call on their colleagues that have not domesticated relevant gender-based protection laws to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, the Child Rights Act and the updated Penal Code to increase protection for women and children.

They added that the domestication would also ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators in addition to creating sex offenders register in each State to name and shame.

They also resolved to invite the Commissioners of Police to provide a detailed report on the actions taken to strengthen their response to sexual and gender-based violence through the Family Support Units and Force Gender Units at the State and Local Government levels.

The communiqué said governors would commit additional funding for the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence through appropriate Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

They also endorsed the communique of the meeting of the First Ladies in Nigeria which held on June 7, 2020, to evaluate and mobilize action to check the alarming rate of sexual violence against women and girls and indeed all forms of violence against women.

The decision was taken after the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, addressed members on the rising case of rape and gender-based violence in the country which had escalated since the enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown.