‘Perpetrators of gender-based violence must be punished’
Some women rights activists in the country have said that perpetrators of Gender-Based violence (GBV) should be punished for their actions.
They argued that Nigeria is not making headway with ending GBV because perpetrators go unpunished and government institutions are always looking for ways to settle the case out of court, despite the pain suffered by the victims.
ActionAid Country Director, Ene Obi, at the launch of the Women-Led Integrated Protection Action Against Gender-Based Violence Project and the commemoration of the 16-day activism to end GBV in the country, lamented the increasing cases of gender-based violence in the country.
She noted that between January and May 2020, over 717 women suffered different forms of gender-based violence, particularly rape. According to her, Edo, Niger and Adamawa states have records of high cases of the menace, with a monthly increase by 149 per cent in 23 states, including those in the North East.
Obi said the organisation was implementing and addressing GBV in the three states of Edo, Adamawa and Niger to protect the rights of women and girls.
She encouraged states that are yet to domesticate the law protecting women and girls to do so in order to reduce violence on them.
“Over the past few months, the country has experienced a rapid increase in insecurity which has further deepened the dimensions of violence giving rise to additional burden for women and girls.
“Women and girls have continued to bear the effects and burden of violence and conflict. And COVID-19 pandemic has further increased incidences of violence on women and girls as it introduced new dimension to the menace.
“Concerning the laws that protect women and girls, we have some states that have not domesticated them, and we encourage such states to do so,” Obi said.
The ActionAid official said that the organisation would continue to work with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other agencies to sensitise the people to the need to protect women and girls.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Catriona Laing, said that “women and girls made 60 per cent of the population”, hence the need to include them in decision-making.
She said that the British government would continue to support the Nigerian government to eradicate gender-based violence as it relates to women and the girl child.
Wife of the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mrs. Maryam Shuaibu, said that the state had institutionalised the protection of women and girls from GBV and would continue to sustain the tempo to give the women a voice.
She called on women to take their place, saying that the right of a woman does not make her vulnerable, hence the need for their protection.