NGOs Intensify Campaigns, Partners Stakeholders to Combat Violence Against Women, Girls
As Incidents of Violence Against Women, Girls Keep Rising
A nongovernmental organisation, Partnership for Peace in the Niger Delta(P4P) has teamed up with Sanab Development Foundation to fight the rising incidents of violence against women and the girl child.
As part of campaigns to drastically reduce the gender-based violence, a one day Dialogue, Summit and Capacity Building Training on Reducing Violence against Women and Girls was held in Umuahia recently.
The workshop, powered by Partners for Peace, was organised for Umuahia North and Umuahia South Local Governments. Participants that included women, community leaders, traditional rulers, security agencies and other stakeholders, gathered at Umuafia Community Hall, Mbocha Ndume, brainstormed and proffered solutions to the ugly trend.
Speaking at the event, the Head of Department, Gender Unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC), Chief Supt. of Corps, Chioma O. Godwin, said that violence against women and girls was on the rise.
She noted that it was the upward trend of the menace that made the NSCDC to create the Gender Unit to help women speak out and receive help when they fall victims of violence.
“We encourage women at the community level to stand up for their rights and also defend their lives,” Godwin said, adding that families should be a peace haven.
The HOD, Gender Unit of NSCDC called on parents to avoid exhibiting favouritism and discrimination in raising their children and should also report to the appropriate authorities any observed crime even if committed by a family member.
She warned against exposing female children to danger, especially by sending them out alone on errands at night, including asking them to go and buy things.
“If you train your girls well you have peace of mind,” Csp Godwin said.
The Chairperson of Abia State chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Barr. Akudo Amanamba, said that the group has remained consistent in peace advocacy and the rights of the vulnerable ones in the society.
She corrobated the increasing rise in gender based violence, insisting that it should not be wished away.
However, Amanamba pointed out that men also fall victims of gender-based violence as some women could also violate their husbands hence “you need to contact FIDA in a period like this for help”.
The FIDA chairperson in Abia appealed to community leaders and the men folk in general to seriously look into the nagging issue of harmful traditional practices that have been going on over the years.
She noted that such unhealthy cultural practices already well were largely repulsive to women and girls, adding that there should be legislation to protect women and girls here in Southeast as done developed societies like the United States.
In her address, the HOD, Gender Based Violence, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Josephine Goddy-Onulaka said the unit was created to take care of women and girls and even boys in times of maltreatment and ensure they get fair justice.
She urged families having issues to report to the ministry and have them resolved through mediation rather than taking laws into their hands.
Goddy-Onulaka stated that women affairs ministry has observed a very disturbing trend where some families would decide to keep mute over assault or rape cases committed by a family member.
“We have seen wives refusing to report their husbands for molesting, assaulting or even raping their daughters. They’ll say they are preserving the family image,” she lamented.
Earlier, the project coordinator, Mrs Delphine Chioma lauded P4P for sponsoring the event adding that P4P operates across the nine States of the Niger Delta areas, promoting peace among communities.
She said the NGO targets places where there are no peace and assists in ensuring that peace returns since development won’t take place in the absence of peace.
Chioma recalled that P4P had gone from community to community preaching peace during the crisis period in some Niger Delta states.
While regretting that lots of violence go unreported in the communities, she explained that P4P chose Umuahia North and South LGAs for the training and capacity building with the aim of curbing the increasing violence within this urban communities.
The project coordinator revealed that Integrated Peace and Development Unit (IPDU) has established an Early Warning System where people could quickly report issues of violence for prompt action.
She encouraged people to report any observed incidents of violence, assuring that such reports would be handled anonymously in order to protect an informant and bring perpetrators to book.
“When you see an incident or any conflict, you can send an SMS to Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta
(PIND’s), Integrated Peace and Development Unit (IPDU) Early Warning and Early Response System SMS No. 0809-936-2222
indicating the State, LGA, place, date, gender and description of incident in specific, clear and brief terms,” she said.