First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has said gender-based violence is preventable despite the huge scale of the problem in the country.
She made the call yesterday at the 3rd Annual Conference 2022 with the theme: “Awareness, Accountability, and Action: Sustaining the states of emergency against sexual and gender-based violence,” in Abuja.
She urged Nigerian Governors Wives Forum (NIGWF) to sustain the momentum against gender based violence which has seen the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act now domesticated in 34 states.
The first lady who was represented by the senior special assistant to the president on administration and women affairs, Rukayyatu Abdulkareem Gurin, said the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence which takes place annually during the global 16 Days of Activism, is a campaign that aims to galvanize action to end gender-based violence around the world.
She commended the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum for their collaborative effort toward ensuring the safety and protection of women and girls from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
She said, “The journey towards equality and the empowerment of women remains a significant one. Nigeria has already made great strides – most notably in the passage of legislation such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act which has now been domesticated in 34 states.
“Ending violence against women requires that key institutions work together, provide services, and ensure that the different bodies in society are held accountable, especially those that are responsible for law enforcement.”
The first lady further explained that the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum is committed to working tirelessly with partners and other stakeholders to see that gender-based violence is reduced to the barest minimum.
“Together, let us commit by making certain that every woman and girl counts, to ensure that every girl in Nigeria can grow up in a world feeling secure and protected,” she added.
The Nigerian Governors Forum chairman and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, assured women that the governors will continue to support efforts to end gender-based violence. He reassured that the two states will domesticate the VAPP Act before the year ends.
Represented by the director-general of NGF, Asishana Okauru, he commended the governors wives forum for setting up a structure that would outlive every first lady.
He said: “The Institutionalisation of the Forum’s initiative would undoubtedly ensure sustainability.
“… The NGF committed to ensuring that tackling sexual and gender-based violence in our respective states would be a priority. We are committed to ensuring that the Violence Against Persons Law (VAPP) and Child Rights Act would be effectively passed and implemented in our respective states.
“As of November, of this year, 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have domesticated the (VAPP) Act and 32 states have domesticated the Child Rights Act.
“It is no doubt that despite the commendable progress we have made as a country, there is still more that needs to be done to achieve our goal of eliminating Gender Based Violence against Women and Girls.
“This conference represents a further step in an ongoing process: putting the rights of women and girls at the heart of the Nigerian Government and taking on the existing and emerging challenges that we see in this field. We must UNITE in the campaign to end this scourge. The NGF would continue to collaborate with NGWF to drive their initiatives at the subnational.”
The chairperson of Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum and first lady of Sokoto State, Mariya Aminu Tambuwal, listed the objectives of the conference to include, bringing stakeholders together for a high-level advocacy forum on SGBV to commemorate the Global 16 days of Activism campaign against Gender-Based Violence.
On her part, minister of women affairs, Pauline Tallen, commended Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai for efforts to stem sex-related abuses by signing the amendment to the state’s penal code law in September 2021, which provides stiffer punishment for rapists convicted, by removing their testicles and fallopian tubes of men and women respectively, and the launch of sex offenders’ register.
The amended penal code provides that men convicted of raping children under the age of 14 will have their testicles surgically removed, while women will have their fallopian tubes cut out.