The Plateau State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Rebecca Sambo has tasked citizens to reaffirm their commitment to fight against gender-based violence and reclaim the streets to create a society that is safe and secure for women and children.
The Commissioner stressed that domestic violence is not something that should be left to families to resolve but whenever it is known that someone is being abused in a home or a neighbor’s house, citizens must report and also stand in the courts as witnesses to make sure that the abusers are successfully prosecuted.
She spoke at the weekend in Jos during a town hall meeting with traditional, religious, and community members and the media to mark the end of 16 Days of activism 2022.
Mrs. Sambo disclosed that having a safe environment for everyone to thrive is important hence her Ministry, in collaboration with the Women Peace Mentors, Women Peace and Security Media Network and HeforShe with support from UN Women and the Government of Norway put the event together to continue to raise awareness on the need for zero tolerance for violence against women and children.
In her remarks, she stated, “… This is a moment for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to reclaim our streets and create a society that is safe and secure for women and children. The 16 Days of Activism Campaign 2022 With the Theme: “Unite Activism To Fight Gender-Based Violence Against Women And Girls” focuses primarily on generating an increased awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children as well as society as a whole…
“The campaign seeks to mobilize all of us as members of the community to also join in this effort. I urge all Nigerians to join this fight. When we know that someone is being abused in our own home or our neighbor’s house, we must report that. We also must stand in court as witnesses to make sure that these abusers are prosecuted successfully. Domestic violence is not something that should be left to families to resolve. An uncle who rapes a niece needs to face the full might of the law. Once a crime has been committed, let us allow the law to take its full course.”
She lamented that “Despite Nigeria’s constitutional and legislative protection, violence based on gender and sexual orientation remains at unacceptable levels. The violence takes different forms such as sexual harassment, abuse, assault, rape, domestic violence, and other cultural practices that are harmful to women and children. Whilst there are programs and interventions to prevent and respond to the abuse, the government cannot do this alone and therefore depends on mutual partnerships with non-governmental organizations, businesses, faith-based organizations, traditional leaders, political parties, religious leaders, and various sectors of society and communities.
“A concerted effort is required to promote the reach of the campaign to rural areas including farming and mining communities. Those most severely affected by violence are in these areas and may not be aware of the resources and services available to them to help them cope with their circumstances. We believe that the unacceptably high levels of gender-based violence require the collective efforts of all Nigerians. We must pause and ponder the real impact of gender-based violence. These include direct costs relating to health care services, judicial services, social services, and other related services.
“Gender-based violence robs women and children of the opportunity to become productive citizens of the country. It denies them their constitutional rights and condemns them to a life of perpetual fear. They are therefore prevented from enjoying the fruits of our freedom and democracy. The reality that we must collectively confront is the reluctance on the part of some victims of violence to come forward and seek legal advice and social support. This could be due to a lack of knowledge of their rights, the social stigma around domestic violence, or the inaccessibility of rural women to police and courts…
The question that must be posed is: If animals find it unacceptable to abuse their young ones, why is it that some among us derive pleasure from seeing their flesh and blood in pain?
“Women and children long for the day when they can walk the streets without fear of being raped or brutally assaulted. They long for a day when they can walk the streets without having to look behind them to see who is following them. They long for a day when society will protect them against sexual molesters. The current spate of child murders in our country is a matter of grave concern and a painful reminder of the disregard for human life and the rights of children.
In memory of all children who perished in hands of abusers, we must move with speed to put these murderers behind bars. As we do so, we must also focus our attention on those who claim to be sangomas who pay for the body parts of our children. The law must be equally harsh on them. I urge real sangomas to take a stand and expose those who trade with the bodies of our children…”
Also, a former Lawmaker, Alice Asaije, and a gender expert, Sewuese Isaiah, a HeforShe, Gyang Dudu as well as some traditional leaders and others who spoke called for concerted efforts to end violence against women and girls.
Asaije said, “…we need to stand and protect ourselves,” as Isaiah in her presentation gave the progress report, success, gaps, opportunities, and way forward on the VAPP law and SAP on WPS agenda as a veritable framework to Unite! Activism to end violence against women and girls in the State while Dudu called for more support from the men to ensure women and girls are protected in society.