The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) have pledged their support to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria.
The NGF disclosed this in a statement issued by its Head of Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo,
in Abuja on Wednesday.
The statement added that the UN and EU jointly applauded the efforts of NGF for imposing a state of emergency on GBV towards addressing the various indignities that women go through in their own homes.
It noted that the commendation came at the UN building at the Central Business District in Abuja during a meeting among the UN, EU and the NGF, on a programme code-named the Spotlight Initiative.
It added that the purpose of the meeting, organised at the instance of the UN, was to discuss possible areas of partnership between the initiative and the NGF.
It quoted UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, enumerating the area of cooperation with the NGF to include GBV, genital mutilation and access to justice, among several other social inconveniences that have been plaguing mostly the weak and under privileged members of society.
It also quoted Correls Kurt, the EU representatives who attended the meeting virtually from its headquarters in UK, applauding the Nigerian governors for rising to the occasion by declaring a state of emergency on GBVs.
Kurt said that he looked forward to working with the NGF at a technical level to find a lasting solution to GBV and other anti-social behaviour in the country.
“GBV has always been with us in every society but what is commendable is the fact that this courageous team of Nigeria’s governors have now deemed it imperative to address the matter once and for all,” Kurt said.
He said that Nigeria was one of eight countries to benefit from the union’s EU 500m assistance for the programme and it was expected that tangible work would be done in the area.
Kurt also emphasised the need to align all activities of the programme to meet the standards set for it because of how important it is to ensure the credibility of the process.
The statement quoted NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi commending the UN and the EU for the initiative and describing it as a game changer when considered in relation to what the world waswas go through, especially the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fayemi said that the initiative couldn’t have come at a better time, coming on the heels of the last NGF meeting where all the governors took conscious steps to mitigate the unwholesome incidences of rape and other gender based violence in the country.
Fayemi said there were other related issues that the governors were looking at including the Child Rights’ Act and that had plagued the country in the past and they were being seriously considered for action.
Fayemi added that although the Federal Government had taken steps in the right direction in solving these problems, some states had not been able to domesticate them due to certain cultural and sometimes religious implications.
He told the partners that there was already concerted efforts at applying the naming and shaming of perpetrators of these GBVs as a sex offenders register had already been opened.
He identified treatment, counselling and care as some of the most critical activities that could help the victims of GBV because they happen to be at the receiving end of the cane.
The Ekiti governor also advocated the establishment of referral centres and shelters for the victims as not just necessary but critical in helping curb the problem.
Fayemi identified one of social factors leading to the crimes as insufficient knowledge on the part of the perpetrators saying education for both the perpetrators and the victims will go a long way in helping both.
“Bottom line is that the women must not just be healed and counselled but must also be empowered to be able to cope with their peculiar situations and circumstances.
“These are systemic challenges that take time to address.
Fayemi expressed delight that the NGF would be pleased to be working with stakeholders to build and facilitate the implementation of functional systems for the country.
“As governors, we are strong proponents of never letting the crisis to go to waste, instead we try and turn adversity to opportunity.
“At the NGF we do not just present a responsive but effective governance as our priority,” Fayemi said.
Also at the meeting were the NGF Director-General, Mr Asishana Okauru; NGF Executive Director Research,
Alhaji Abdullateef Shittu; the NGF Health Advisor, Dr Abdulwahab
Ahmad and Technical Assistant to the DG NGF, Hauwa Halliru.