The Rivers State Response Team on Violence Against Women and Children is happy, and commends the Rivers State Police Command over the arrest and prosecution of a Senior Lecturer with the Rivers State University, Dr. Samuel Egbuchu, over issues of Gender Based Violence.
The Team also refuted the claim of the Rivers State University that the matter which is a violation of the Rivers State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law 2020, and the Rivers State Dehumanizing and Harmful Traditional Practices (Prohibition) Law as amended 2020 be allowed to be swept under the carpet as a family matter.
Coordinator of the Civil Society-led Rivers State Response Team on Violence Against Women and Children, and Chairman, Rivers Indigenous NGOs and Civil Society Network (RINGOCS), Tombari Dumka-Kote stated this after the arraignment of the Lecturer on a 4-count charge before the Rumuodomaya Magistrate Court 2, in Port Harcourt.
Dumka-Kote said while it remains the desire of the Team to ensure issues of domestic violence are resolved were possible, the team will also do it’s best to protect vulnerable persons from all forms of violence, or even been killed by perpetrators of gender based violence, as there is no excuse for anyone to take laws into their hands.
The Team regretted the university’s refusal to hand over Dr. Egbuchu to the police for prosecution on issues of Gender Based Violence or even make true and genuine effort at resolving the issue despite pleas from the University Vice Chancellor, legal Unit and the Academic Staff Union of Universities that they be allowed time to mediate in the matter.
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He described the last minute reaction of the institution, targetted at the Civil Society as a face saving mission too late, wondering how the university could justify an Associate Professor providing below #500 for his wife and children.
‘The arraignment of Dr. Samuel Egbuchu by the police after jumping bail and failing to showup for peaceful resolution of the matter is a welcome development to us, and it should serve as a warning for those still perpetrating gender based violence to turn a new leaf’, Dumka-Kote stated.
Also speaking, Ms. Nwanne Ijere, a member of the team and Programme Officer, Gender and Child Protection at the Centre for Justice, Empowerment and Development (C4J), said after Dr. Egbuchu, battered and together with his relatives forcefully ejected his wife from their resident at the University Quarters at Rumuagholu, Port Harcourt, leading to their arrest by the Police and following the intervention of the team, they were released on bail by the police to a staff of the university.
Ijere said the in-laws had abducted the children of Mrs. Egbuchu to an unknown destination after forcefully ejecting her from her matrimonial home, but it took the police three days of intensive search before the children were recovered from where they were hidden and locked up in a room without food or taking their bath for close to a week.
The Response Team had earlier threatened to lead a civil society protest to the Rivers University main gate upon the expiration of a 7-day ultimatum issued to the university for the release of Dr. Egbuchu. The team said that it is no longer necessary as it has been over taken by event.