A non-governmental organisation, Women Advocates’ Research And Documentation Center (WARDC) has said that Abuja, Kaduna, Lagos recorded the highest number of sexual violence against women during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.
A survey which was commissioned by WARDC with the support of Action Aid and UK aid, revealed that the highest proportion of girls and women that were sexually abused were female respondents from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with 58.8%, while Kaduna recorded 47.2 percent and Lagos, 46.5 percent.
Domestic violence was lease experienced by female respondents from Kwara (27.9%) and Kano(28.4%) respectively. Results across all the selected states and FCT showed that more than one third (38.8%) of the female respondents were sexually abused while another 45.2% experienced domestic violence during the COVID-19 crisis.
The purpose of the survey was to identify the differential impact of COVID-19 on women, girls and boys and other vulnerable groups. It also sought to document the experience of women and girls before and during COVID-19 in relation to roles, responsibilities, decision making and access to socio economic services and palliatives.
It was also undertaken to explore the current and potential gendered dimensions of COVID-19 and highlights the ways which women, girls and other marginalised people are likely to suffer from the pandemic. The lead researcher was Prof. K.O Olayode, a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
A total number of 5,813 respondents were sampled across nine states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and questionnaires were distributed to women in randomly selected households across the selected states. Three local governments were selected from the three Senatorial Districts of each state and they were selected on the basis of urban, semi urban and rural socio-economic categorisation.
Some of the questionaires were administered physically while the others were done through phone calls and video calls based on the prevailing situations of lockdowns, physical distancing and movement restrictions. Out of the states surveyed, those with the highest incidence rate of fraudulence in the management of COVID-19 funds were Kwara(17.5%), Lagos (16.7%) and Osun (16.5%), while the least reported corruption rate was from Kaduna (13.3%).
The gender analysis of the survey showed that three in every five households were headed by men and the percentage showed that 64.6% of households across the states were headed by men and decision making in such households are largely taken by men.
The survey revealed that the emergency nature of the pandemic is shoring up authoritarian power of the states which has further marginalised women’s participation in decision making.