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UNFPA Report: Kaduna to prioritise women, girls protection- Dattijo

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Sani Dattijo

Kaduna state government is set to prioritise the protection of women and girls under existing laws in order to curb the spate of indiscriminate violations of their bodies, a senior official of Governor Nasir El-Rufai said at the launch of the 2021 State of the World Population Report a flagship of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

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The report, which has been published since 1978, brings to the public domain, deep research on topical issues that are affecting population and development across the world.

The chief of staff to the governor, Mr Muahmmad Sani Dattijo on Wednesday described the report as “timely” noting that this year’s theme calls the attention of global leaders, policymakers, parliaments and all stakeholders to the infringement of body rights of half of the world’s population made up of women and girls.

“In matters related to reproduction and sexuality, bodily autonomy means women and girls determine their lives and their future and should have the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion and violence,” Sani said.

He said that the findings were based on the current General Households Survey conducted by the state Bureau of Statistics, and currently being validated by relevant stakeholders.

According to him, the survey also shows that over 30 per cent of girls in Kubau and Kudan LGAs were also married off before they turn 15 years.

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“There are of course cultural and religious sensitivities that are contained within this report – it is a global report that also carries the consent of other countries and what they term as important. But it is up to us to really prioritise what we feel are the most important development and population issues in Kaduna state, areas that do not go against existing laws of our country,” he said.

He disclosed that immediate action will be taken by relevant agencies in close collaboration with the planning and budget commission to study the recent report by the Kaduna Bureau of Statistics on the general household in the state. With the emerging data will provide from the survey, the government will channel a clear path towards the implementation of the areas that are particularly important to the people of Kaduna state.

“You can see that when we talk about these issues, it is not one size fits all – it is my belief that policymakers, lawmakers and all duty bearers will provide the needed support to implement key recommendations in the report,” he said.

Issues of major concern contained in the report bordered on child marriages, genital mutilation and domestic violence.

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Over 38 per cent of girls in the Soba Local Government Area of the state get married before the age of 15, while over 30 per cent of girls in Kubau and Kudan LGAs were also married off before they turn 15 years.

At the zonal level, over 32 per cent of girls are married off before age 15 in Kaduna North Senatorial Zone, 15 per cent in Kaduna Central and 17 per cent in Kaduna South.

The survey equally shows 49 per cent prevalence of female genital mutilation in Makarfi LGA and 34 per cent in Giwa LGA.

In the area of domestic violence, 73 per cent of women in Birnin Gwari LGA and 0.4 per cent in Zaria LGA felt it was normal for a man to beat a woman.

Sani assured that relevant ministries, departments and agencies, particularly the Ministry of Health, Human Services and Social Development and PBC will study the report closely and provide a clear implementation plan for some of the recommendations.

He further urged traditional and religious leaders, as well as influential groups in various communities to champion the conversation on achieving bodily autonomy.

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