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EU-UN initiative partners monarchs, clerics to end VAW

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The European Union/United Nations (EU-UN) Spotlight Initiative has begun aggressive campaign with traditional and religious leaders, among others, to eliminate rape and other forms of Violence Against Women (VAW) in Nigeria.

To achieve this, the Spotlight Initiative Coordinator for Cross River and Ebonyi states, Mr. Olorunjuwon Oloruntoba, stated yesterday that the initiative was starting with six focus states, namely Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos, Abuja, Sokoto and Adamawa.

“In these states, we are starting with two councils each,” he added.

He was speaking at a two-day dialogue organised by the Cross River State Ministry of Women Affairs, in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), with support from EU-UN Spotlight Initiative themed ‘Eliminating all Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South Councils of Cross River State’.

“Cases of rape and violence against women are on the rise in our communities. The traditional rulers, religious leaders and others should help government to fight because government cannot do it alone. This dialogue is for us to air our views and let us all begin to take responsibility for our actions,” he said.

In a communiqué released after the dialogue, the stakeholders resolved that gender inequality, violence against women and children should be discouraged.

The communiqué signed by Ntufam Oqua Itu from Calabar Municipality; the Head of Efut Anatigha Clan, Muri Munen Okokon; and eight others also wanted under-age marriage discouraged, bride price reviewed and wife battering outlawed.

Similarly, the Archbishop of Esan Anglican Diocese, Friday Imaekhai, has called on government at all levels to stem the alarming rate of rape in the country with appropriate legislation.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Bendel Province made the call while delivering the Bishop’s Charge to the third session of the sixth synod of the diocese at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Eguare-Ekpoma, Edo State.

Imaekhai described rape as errant nonsense symptomatic of delinquency and criminal tendency, which must be checked.

Lamenting the increase in rape cases in the country, the religious leader said it was a sign of complete breakdown of the moral tone of the nation.

His words: “It remains a sad commentary that Nigeria is witnessing all sorts of vices such as corruption, nepotism, human trafficking, terrorism, ritual killings and murder, highway robberies, and now rape has gained currency.

“Nigeria is gradually sliding into a normless society characterised by these vices. How on earth could there be justification for a man raping a three-month-old baby and others of whatever ages?”

He therefore charged the government to swing into action, as no nation could survive the kind of vices existing in Nigeria.


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