Group vows to upgrade Enugu Sexual Assault Referral Centre

Sylvia Udegbunam Enugu

A group of Non government organization (ACJ) comprising Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, Lawyers Alert, Ikra Foundation for Women and Youth Development, Community initiative for Self Reliance, Nigeria League of Women Voters, Agbani Farm Limited and Legal Awareness for Nigeria Women, has reiterated commitment to support and upgrade the TAMAR Sexual Assault Referral Centre (TARMASARC) Enugu.

This commitment was made to the centre during a courtesy visit by Sexual Gender Based Violence Network Enugu to TARMASARC Abakiliki Road in Enugu.

The coordinator, Enugu Sexual Gender Based Violence Network (ACJ), Margaret Obiegue emphasized that the group visited the centre to find out the situation of the centre, their challenges and what ACJ can do to help the centre perform their duties effectively, in tackling problem of sexual and gender based violence in Enugu state.

Obiegue said that the objective of ACJ is to bring speedy justice to gender based violence victims and also work on implementation of VAPP and ACJ.

She highlighted that TARMASARC is one of their main focus and that the group had a dialogue section to upgrade the centre with a project being sponsored by USAID.

She promised that the group will empower victims with skill acquisition especially at Agbani Farm where victims can learn poultry and fish farming for two weeks with free accommodation and feeding. 

Obiegue further promised that the group will go to ministry of health and justice to request for a doctor and lawyer that will assist the Sarc to carry out their functions and furthermore engage private sectors that can supply some drugs to the centre.

The Centre Manager, TAMAR Sexual Assault Referral Centre (TARMASARC) Evelyn Ngozi Onah, while responding to ACJ commended them for their commitment to support Tarmasac, in providing some of the things that will help the centre to actively carry out their duties.

 She also appreciate the State government for sustaining the Centre stressing that there is need for improvement.

Onah lamented that the centre is seriously lacking funds, personnel and resources. She appealed to the state government to provide them with Medical doctors, lawyers, drugs and also a forensic examination centre in Enugu. 

According to her “We need Lawyers to attend to victim cases very fast, but if it is delayed, people will be discouraged to come to the center but prefer to settle out of court and move to their various businesses”. 

“We need a medical doctor around, so that doctor can examine the victim immediately to know the extent of the injury. Having doctor from Park Lane hospital, that sees the victims once in a week, at times he will not be in Enugu, we will be waiting for him to come whenever he is available”. 

“At times, when you send them to go to police clinic, they pay heavily, even HIV test, they pay for it, but here every thing is carried out free of charge. If you can help us renovate the spaces in our building and get a medical doctor to be here, we can use it for the doctor and MIE office”.

“We need the renovation of the offices, we do not have chairs, table, fan, air-condition, fridges and other equipment. We need approval of drugs, and access budgets in the ministry of gender affairs, ministry of health and also be captured in the budget of ministry of Justice”.

“We need government to establish other Sarc centres in the other senatorial zones so that people can reach us. We need to sensitise people more about TARMASAC and what we do. We need to go to media, Schools, markets and churches to sensitise people” she said. 

A victim and also a breast feeding mother residing in the centre, who wish to be anonymous lamented how the husband has been beaten her with the Children. She told ACJ group that the husband kept her under house arrest for 9 months and refuse to take care of her and the children, stressing that she suspects that the husband was beaten her and the children because they are mostly females. 

She thanked the Centre for accommodating and also feeding her with the Children since one week they came to Tarmasac. She noted that she was breastfeeding her baby without eating but Tarmasac has provided them with everything they need and also invited her husband for counseling on Tuesday.

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