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Women groups demand protection of rights, elimination of gender-based violence

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Executive Director, Women Law and Development Centre Dr. Keziah Awosika, (fourth right); Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, (fourth left), Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, Executive Director, Media Concern Initiative (3rd right) flagged by other civil society members at a focused group meeting held in Lagos.

Research has shown that one out of every three women has experienced some form of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) or the other, which implies that one-third of the female population, has experienced a form of Gender-Based Violence which has become a global pandemic that is assuming alarming proportion.

To this end, the United Nation (UN) Women and Women Advocates and Research Documentation Centre (WARDC) have called for an end to all forms of violence against women and girls in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

They also harped on the need to advance campaigns on Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV), Harmful Practices (HP) and Sexual Health and Reproduction Right (SRHR) to address the issue of violence against women and the girl-child.

This was the thrust at a focus group meeting organised by WARDC in Lagos for Lagos West, Lagos East and Lagos Central senatorial districts on advancing strategies to address the protection of women’s rights. The event also witnessed the implementation the UN Women Spotlight initiative, a global initiative of the European Union and UN with WARDC as partner to end all forms of violence against women and girls. This is in line with the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The focus group meeting, however, stressed on the need to seek improvement in the capacity of CSOs and NGOs, and educate them on the power of collective action to find out how women can work together to achieve a common goal.

According to the Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, there is need for more enlightenment on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in Nigeria. “Women deserve the rights to their body integrity, there is little focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the country; hence we should intensify campaigns on these issues.

“There are a lot of discussions about women’s body integrity whether they have a choice to decide the number of children that they are supposed to have and whether the government is contributing enough funds to give the necessary information for people to know how to plan their family in a manner that the country will not have a population it cannot deal with. The government needs to see it from the point of view that addressing the problem of population is addressing the issue of sexual and reproductive health rights.

“The issue of women’s human rights and developmental concerns are still major challenges in Nigeria. Despite laws against widowhood practices and concerted efforts to ensure access to SRHR, the reality is that the challenges that women face in the GBV, HP and SRHR space are enormous.”

Also speaking at the event, the founder of Media Concern Initiative for Women and Children, Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, implored government to intensify efforts in protecting the rights of women and children. While stressing that women’s sexual health and reproductive rights should be taken seriously to prevent maternal mortality, she added that women should be encouraged to determine the number of children they want to give birth to.


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