Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
Wife of Kebbi State governor, Dr Zainab Bagudu, has called for holistic measures to effectively tackle gender-based violence at the grassroots level.
Malam Yahaya Sarki, the Special Adviser to Gov. Atiku Bagudu on Media, said in a statement that Mrs Bagudu made the appeal at a Digital Summit in Birnin Kebbi yesterday.
The summit was organised by an NGO, Movement Against Rape and Sexual Violence (MARS-V).
Bagudu spoke on the topic: “Obstacles to Invoking Chance in Gender Based Laws”.
The governor’s wife said the advocacy centred on high level of discussions on the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) and Child-Rights Acts.
She explained that grassroots advocacy needed to be stepped-up in order to yield positive results.
Bagudu urged government at all levels and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria to step-up efforts toward finding lasting solution to the menace of gender-based violence.
According to her, it is essential to note that the whole issue was about people’s culture.
“There is a general culture of silence among people at the grassroots. We need to constantly engage the rural gatekeepers at the grassroots; the religious and traditional rulers, because they are major facilitators to domesticating and implementing laws against sexual violence.
“Secondly, in order to change the mindset that Female Genital Mutilation is wrong and people are supposed not to mutilate a girl-child, we have to engage them very well.
“Although, we had tried in recent times, but there is the need to put in more efforts because there are major obstacles that we have faced. Even those that have little understanding have their own belief and interpretation of verses of the holy Qur’an, so we are finding ways of getting that mindset changed.”
The governor’s wife also bared her mind on the reformed Penal Code laws for Northern States compared to what was obtainable in the Southern part of the country.
The VAPP Act, according to her, is an improvement of the pre-existing laws, which considered a lot of things that the other laws did not treat, aside from the punishment. It is also imperative that Northern States that practice the Penal Code improves on it, so that they will be able to adapt the VAPP Act and so many other issues. Recently in Kebbi State, Gov. Abubakar Bagudu presented the last bill to the state House of Assembly, alongside the Child-Rights and the VAPP Act for hearing and passage into law.