Performing the ceremony in Enugu, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright commended the State Government for its efforts in fighting gender based violence in the area. Three years ago, the TARMER Sexual Assault Referral Centre known as TARMER SARC was established to improve the handling of sexual offence cases both in relation to sensitive treatment of a victim and the professional investigation of allegations.
The Centre run by Women’s Aid Collective and representatives of Enugu State Government from the Ministries of Health, Justice , Gender Affairs and Social Development, as well as Enugu State Command of the Nigerian Police has enjoined the support of Justice for All Programme of the Department for International Development, DFID. It has supported to date, six hundred and forty-one cases of sexual violence, twelve of which were against males, six hundred and twenty-nine, agaist females and twenty-three against disabled persons.
TARMAR SAC Centre was handed over to the Enugu State Government by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright with a mandate to sustain the good work done by the previous managers.
“ I trust the government and you, your Excellency, the governor here will want to maintain the appropriate level of expertise and funding to TARMAR SAC Centre.
Responding the Enugu State Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi promised to continue working with all stakeholders t o ensure the full realization of the mandate.
“Your Excellency, we are grateful for the wisdom and vision behind the establishment of the Centre, which not only provides free specialized support services to victims of sexual violence, but is also helping us to wage a robust war against sexual assault and related offences”.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Princess Peace Nnaji called on the DFID to continue to support the project to help the State Government in gender-based violence in the area.
“ In Nigeria the stigmatization we have makes sexually abused people not to come forth. At times at the middle of the case you won’t see any witness, if they shy away from it, it means that it will be repeated”.
Also speaking on the occasion, the Executive Director of Women Aid Collective, WACOL, a Non Governmental Organisation, Professor Joy Ezeilo while commending the role played by the State Government in actualizing the dream of the centre, called on victims of sexual violence to seize the opportunity afforded by the establishment of TARMAR SAC to receive help.
“Minors are rampantly raped. There are cases of incest, we have recorded deaths, few convictions because by the time they come to us, they have muddled up the evidence”.
The Regional Coordinator of DFID Justice for all Programmes, Mrs. Josephine Onah explained that handing over the centre to the State Government was to ensure continuity, adding that the oversight function of TARMER SAC still resided with the Enugu Regional Office of the funding Agency, DFID. The Commissioner for Health, Dr Sam Ngwu on his part, encouraged people to seek the services of TAMAR SAC as they would receive the full protection and help of the government.