The Kaduna Government on Thursday said it would generate data of rape cases in the state from 2015 to date, to inform legal response to address the menace.
Hajiya Hafsat Baba, the state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, disclosed this during a virtual meeting in Kaduna.
The theme of the meeting is: Data for Policy and Decision-making in the Context of COVID-19.
The meeting was organised by the Christian Aid, an NGO, as part of the Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (ECID) programme, aimed at facilitating evidence-based policy and decision-making for inclusive development.
Baba explained that Gov. Nasir El-Rufai had directed that the data be generated to enable the state to make informed decisions on how to curb the menace of rape.
She noted that the state was generating quarterly data from social workers in the ministry, Sexual Assault Referral Centres, the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and Civil Society Organisations.
”Media has also been supportive in providing critical information and we are working with relevant stakeholders to address the issue of rape and gender-based violence in the state.
”The goal is to have a centralised data bank on rape and gender-based violence that will speak to the need of all relevant stakeholders working in the area in the state.
”This will also help in directing policy formulation and implementation around rape and gender-based violence in the state,” she said.
The commissioner noted that residents and relevant stakeholders were currently asking for death penalty for rapists, adding that Gov. El-Rufa’i had mandated the review of relevant laws to see what could be done.
”We have the Child Welfare and Protection Law, Violence Against Child Law and the Penal Code, which will be reviewed to respond adequately to the rising cases of rape in Kaduna communities,” she assured.
Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, member, Risk Communication Pillar, Kaduna State COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre, equally stressed the need for data for effective programming, during emergency or pandemic situations.
According to her, data is pivotal to achieving effective risk communication that will enable people make informed decisions and take necessary steps to protect themselves and other community members.
Similarly, Dr Ado Zakari, Director, Primary Healthcare, Ministry of Health, equally noted that data was critical to addressing the peculiar health needs of vulnerable groups, during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Mr Temitope Fashola, the Programme Manager, Democracy and Good Governance, Christian Aid, who hosted the meeting, pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had proven the critical role of data in development.
Fashola said that the pandemic has brought on varying degrees of negative socio-economic impacts on individuals and communities around the world, with the poorest and most marginalised, being the most affected.
He pointed out that marginalised groups like people with disabilities, adolescents and poor rural women had always been at a disadvantage and were adversely affected by the impacts of the pandemic.
”The webinar, therefore, brings together civil society, representatives of marginalised groups, policy makers, duty bearers and academia to assess the impacts of government response to the pandemic on the lives of marginalised groups.
”It also provides an avenue for us to discuss and raise questions around the gaps in development, resulting from the lack of data for policy and decision-making.
”This will enable stakeholders to suggest ways that will enhance policy making and ensure better opportunities for marginalised groups, through the effective use of data,” he said.