The call for an end to the increasing cases of gender-based violence has been re-echoed at a one-day stakeholder meeting in Yola at the instance of the UN Spotlight eliminating gender-based violence.
Participants discussed how advocacy can be used to create awareness and improve citizen participation in budgets with a focus on women and girls’ rights.
Nigeria’s reported rape cases tripled during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown to a few thousand, and the UN children’s fund says one in four girls and women have been victims of sexual violence – meaning countless rapes are going unreported due to stigma.
Both local and international organizations have been carrying out advocacy and enlightening campaigns to reduce if not completely end the menace gender-based violence posed on society.
Ruqayya Ibrahim, the Project Assistant of the UN Spotlight Initiative eliminating gender-based violence while speaking to newsmen at the event said the meeting was aimed at coming up with an action plan which will be reviewed and submitted to the office of the wife of the governor for implementation.
“We were here a month ago for a capacity building for women advocates on how to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence through prevention, sensitization, and responding. But then we went deeper into institutions and policies. We analyzed the budget and saw the gaps in the budget and the policies. After we left, we collaborated with a member of the House of assembly to help us push and pass the VAP act which has been passed into law remaining the implementation which I feel it’s a huge step.
“Now we are here for an action plan review with the stakeholders from the ministries of health, education, women affairs, budget and planning, and religious leaders to see how we can collaborate the culture and religion differences to the action plan so that we can help in eliminating this sexual and gender-based violence,” she said.
She described the stakeholders who were drawn from the ministries of women affairs, budget and planning, health, and education as important partners whose opinions play an important aspect in the action plan which will be used to effect changes in the society and protect the girl child.
“They are quite very important because we need their inputs, the action plan is for the state so their input is very important. We will add their views to the action plan and submit to the office of the First Lady, the wife of the governor for implementation,” she emphasized.
The House of Assembly is at the forefront of making laws and is expected to play a vital role in ensuring that the girl-child is protected.
A lawmaker from the Adamawa state House of Assembly, Kate Mamuno who was at the meeting said stakeholders have participated fully and have learned a lot.
“So many people don’t know that the budget is a citizens budget, but they are beginning to understand that they can have their inputs in the budget if it is not implemented fully.
” The workshop is geared towards enlightening people on the assessment and of course the gender-based violence in society,” she said.
Despite the jump in reported rape cases, the Nigerian police said last year there were only convictions nationwide.
Stakeholders worry that the slow justice system if not check may affect the campaign against rape.