With the support of the Ford Foundation, the development Research and Projects Center has called on the federal and state governments to redouble their commitments in fighting Gender-based violence in Nigeria.
Executive Director of the organization, Dr. Judith-Ann Walker, disclosed at the ongoing African regional council on women societies in Abuja on Thursday.
Ms Walker added that Nigerian women continue to face various forms of violence, including sexual harassment, physical violence, harmful traditional practices, emotional and psychological violence, socio-economic violence, and violence against non-combatant women, especially in conflict situations.
”This has had a serious implication on their education, health, economic life, social relation, and personal development. According to a study commissioned by the ministry of women’s affairs and social development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) Nigeria, 28% of Nigerian women aged 25-29 have experienced some form of physical violence since age 15,” she said.
She also disclosed that 15% of women in Nigeria had experienced physical violence within 12 months, while 25% of married women or those living with their spouses experienced violence in their lives, adding that Gender-based violence has become a recurrent issue across the Nigeria region exempted.
”Indeed, there is no day in the country without a reported case of sexual violence, especially rape, in the media. This is a matter of great concern for women and men in the nation.
“What has become of our people? Why is the incidence of GBV on the increase? What are the government at national and sub-national levels doing to address this situation?
“What are active citizens and voluntary associations such as Mosques and Churches doing to ameliorate the reoccurrence? What are the drivers and causes of GBV? ” She asked.
She then revealed that the DRPC is rolling out a one-week network Building program to build the capacities of CSOs on techniques for amplifying CSO network successes; new advocacy approaches in the context of Covid-19; user-friendly monitoring and evaluation tools and approaches; and writing winning proposals in GBV.
dRPC, according to her, will also provide mini-grants for Networks to design and carry out an advocacy engagement to address an emerging driver of GBV
Earlier, the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, called for zero tolerance to Gender-based violence, adding that the federal government has declared a state of emergency on gender-based violence in Nigeria.
The minister disclosed the formation of a committee of first Ladies in Nigeria that would work to stem the rate of gender-based violence in all the 36 states of the federation, adding that Nigeria has the political will to deal decisively with gender-based violence.
”I urge Nigerians to report cases of gender-based violence to the nearest police station to help in stemming this monster that is rocking our societies,” she added.
In her presentation, Ogochukwu Kehinde said that Pathfinder International is working in nine states of Nigeria by supporting 10 Sexual Assaults and Referral Centers (SARCs) to provide essential health services to survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), sensitize the communities on SGBV and strengthened their capacity to solicit, administer, and manage funds.
She added that Pathfinder contributes to a better understanding of SGBV in Nigeria by improving data management across the 11 states in the federation.
Olorufemi Oluwatoyin, Director, Lagos State Gender-Based Violence agency, said efforts have advanced to record, follow up, document and shame perpetrators of sexual violence in the state through sustained campaigns and delibrate interventions to protect women and girls in the state.
The President of the National Council for Women Societies, Dr Gloria Laraba Shoda, commended the participants and the Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, to fight gender-based violence, which she called a monster raking havoc in Nigeria.