From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As 16-day of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) winds up this Friday, the acting Governor of Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe has reiterated the commitment of the state government to reduce gender-based- violence across the state.
She restated this as keynote speaker at a high-level sensitisation on Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law implementation strategy for wives of councils’ chairmen and relatives stakeholders organise by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development (HSSD) in partnership with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) held in Kaduna on Thursday.
The acting governor, who was represented by State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Aisha Dikko noted that despite campaigns by relevant stakeholders to address GBV, effortsremainsn extremely inadequate thereby making it a bit difficult for victims/survivors to seek legal redress.
The wife of Kaduna state governor, Dr Hadiza El-Rufai also noted the need to heighten the prosecution of GBV offenders which she believed would serve as a deterrent to others
On her part, the only female lawmaker in Kaduna State House if Assembly, Mrs Comfort Amwe harped on the need for more proactive measures to address the menace in the state.
Earlier, Commissioner, HSSD, Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed-Baba told journalists at the sideline of the event that, the new strategies to reduce cases of GBV include to train the wives of the chairmen of the local government on VAPP law, establish GBV advocates at that level and link them with security outfit for easy documentation and profiling of GBV.
“We are engaging wives of chairmen of the local government because most of these violent cases do take place at the community levels. We believe they have a role to play as some of them just came up after the last local government elections here in the state.
“In addition, we are also engaging women development officers because they are also working with the wives of chairmen. This engagement is important because it is not just about putting laws against GBV in place, implementation is key. Again, they will also help us to sensitise communities that we have these laws in place as some don’t even know about it.
“So, we will train them on how to refer cases which will be great for us. We will also expose them to the simplified copy of the law which has been translated into different languages by civil society.
“At the end of this gathering today, we are going to have GBV advocates at the local government level to work with the GBV response team at the state level. We will also link them up with civil defense and police so, at the end of the day, we will be addressing the GBV leveraging on a bottom-top.
“We are trying to ensure we break that culture of silence. People must come out to say I have been violated whether it is in school, home or workplace and everyone needs to play his or her role – the police, the court and correctional service”, she added.