- as governors promise continuous support
- Tallen hails El-Rufai’s castration of rapist policy
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has declared that not withstanding the scale of the problem, gender-based violence is preventable, making it essential that women reaffirmed commitment to end this violence, and support all women and girls in fully realising their potential.
She therefore, urged Nigeria Governors Wives Forum (NIGWF) to sustain the momentum against gender base violence which has seen the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act now domesticated in 34 states.
She made the call at the 3rd Annual Conference 2022 with the theme: “Awareness, Accountability and Action: Sustaining the states of emergency against sexual and gender based violence.”
Represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration and Women Affairs, Rukayyatu Abdulkareem Gurin, the First Lady, noted that the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Sexual and Gender Based Violence which takes place annually during the global 16 Days of Activism, a campaign that aims to galvanize action to end gender-based violence around the world.
Mrs. Buhari commended the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum for their collaborative effort towards ensuring the safety and protection of women and girls from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
According to her, “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 legislations 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.”
Mrs. Buhari noted that the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum is committed to keep 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 ensuring that every girl in Nigeria can grow up in a world feeling secure and protected.”
The Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, assured that Governors will continue to support efforts to end GBV.
He reassured that two states will domesticate VAPP Act before the year ends.
Represented by the Director-General of NGF, Asishana Okauru, 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 made a commitment to ensure that tackling sexual and gender-based violence in our respective states would be a priority. We 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 Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum and First Lady- Sokoto State, Mariya Aminu Tambuwal, listed the objectives of the conference to include: Bring stakeholders together for a high-level advocacy forum on SGBV to commemorate the Global 16 days of Activism campaign against Gender-Based Violence.
“To launch our projects such as the SGBV Accountability Tracker, SGBV Standard Operating Procedures, SGBV Service Providers Directory & State First Ladies Handbook.
“To showcase the contributions of NIGWF members towards mitigating SGBV.
“To show solidarity with women and the organizations that support them. And to use the media to attract attention to GBV issues, Gender Empowerment and NIGWF’s role.”
She noting that this year’s theme was apt, said that “Awareness-raising:is crucial to spreading the clear message of zero tolerance of all forms of violence against women and girls. It is also crucial to informing victims of their rights and the support services available to them.”
She added that “The first ladies’ approach to eliminate SGBV is holistic, it is also systematic, complementary, and comprehensive, and we aim to achieve this through multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional approach.”
Director of MacAthur Foundation, Dr. Kolawole Shettima, said while the the unity among men and women, rural and urban people are critical against gender based violence, but the role men can to play in bringing about significant reduction in violence against women.
He said: “We know that violence against women or violence in general is more perpetrated by men than by women. And it is the critical role that men play that we have to pay attention to. I hope that in uniting against violence against women, we can also look at the patriarchal ideologies, norms and values and the behaviour that bring up men who are so violence. We have to think on how do we deconstruct mental upbringing of men make them prone to violence and to see that violence is the only way of expressing themselves or dehumanizing other people or especially women.”
He said the COVID-19 pandemic made it more pronounced either by the coverage given by the media which affirms the work the NIGWF are doing or increase in isolation that made men found different ways of expressing themselves. So that menace is something we should pay attention to an being an end to it.
He affirmed MacArthur Foundation commitment to support both financially and at individual level to do all they can to create a better society for all and ensure violence against women is intolerable, punished and people are held accountable for their actions.
He applauded the governors wives for convincing their husbands on the important role they place.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, on her part hailed Governor of Kaduna State, 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 age of 14 will have their testicles surgically removed, while women will have their fallopian tubes cut out.
The objective of the law according to the state government, “is to deter likely offenders and not to incapacitate anyone. No one enjoys the surgical procedures in the edict for convicted persons. But this is a crime against humanity that we must end.