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Lagos Iyalodes, Iyalojas join crusade against gender based violence

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
27 August 2022   |   4:04 am
The prevalence of violence against women and girls in Nigeria has remained high in recent years and rose to a near-epidemic level during the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the society has been contending with the menace.

Founding Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode

The prevalence of violence against women and girls in Nigeria has remained high in recent years and rose to a near-epidemic level during the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the society has been contending with the menace.

To this end, the Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Ford Foundation and the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs recently held a capacity building meeting with the Association/Council of Iyalode and Iyaloja in Lagos State towards ending sexual and gender based violence in the state.

The meeting brought together Iyalodes and Iyalojas from various local councils in the state with the aim of sensitising them on sexual and gender based violence in the society.

Speaking at the meeting, the Executive Director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said: “Violence against women is a violation of human rights and a major impediment to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. Such violence harms women, their families and communities socially, politically and economically.

“Traditional leaders are in a strong position to work with their communities to address the harmful cultural practices that perpetuate negative gender norms and harm women’s and girls’ health and safety. Working with, rather than against, traditional leaders in Nigeria is crucial to ending violence against women and girls and promoting women’s empowerment.”

Akiyode-Afolabi added that traditional leaders have the potential to play a positive role in ending violence against women and girls.

Director, Domestic Violence Unit, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Lagos State, Olorunfemi Oluwatoyin also noted that the meeting was targeted at reducing domestic violence in the state to the barest minimum.

“These people here today are the people from the grassroots and they are always the first point of call when domestic violence happens in the community,” she noted.

On her part, the Olori of Yaba Kingdom, Mosunmola Adeniyi, said the programme was very educational especially for mothers and children.

“Women matter too; here in Africa it’s a man’s world. Women don’t really have a say but we should take care of women because they are the ones who take care of everyone when we are old; they always care. I believe men should treat women right. Why wouldn’t you send your female children to school? Because they are going to end up in somebody’s kitchen? But somebody is in your kitchen. We just have to take care of the women and children so that in return they will take care of you when you are old.

“Women should also learn to be patient, there is nothing perseverance cannot do; learn to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ make your husband comfortable as a woman,” she said.