By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
To reduce domestic violence and other related risks faced by women across Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Be Inspired Empowerment Society of Nigeria (BIN), has pledged to shelter women, especially survivors who don’t have anywhere to go.
It urged government at all levels to commit sufficient fund to ensure that gender-based violence becomes a thing of the past.
The NGO aims to help women through empowerment schemes established by the group to provide funds and other services, including free legal service.
The executive director/founder of the group, Mrs. Chioma Obaro, said the platform would not only provide succour to women seeking liberation but would also keep them in a home, a safe haven funded by members, for the victims’ empowerment and transformation.
The platform, as gathered, would be launched in Lagos on August 6, where the organisation would reach out to women from all walks of life, who are enduring difficult phases or have been through painful experiences.
Obaro stated that there were thousands of unknown and unsung women across Nigeria being abused regularly by their spouses.
She said: “They suffer in silence, compelled by cultural beliefs to remain for the sake of their children, constrained by customary norms that blame women for failed marriages and censured by a society that stigmatises women for speaking out or taking action against a violent husband. How many more women have to die before we stop to think and act differently? Women need to leave to live.
“Moreso, we believe strongly that women play a very crucial role in the development of any nation. Hence, we thrive on the philosophy that a woman empowered is by extension a community liberated,” she said.
She highlighted some of the works done by the organizations as feeding of children from Okomaiko, Lekki on February 14, donations to orphanages and more.
“Every month, we take up rape cases, take care of orphans and protect vulnerable women. We give women a voice, ease the burden, offer them the support and love that they need, and introduce them to a healthy and successful family of women survivors that overcame their turbulence.”
Obaro added that the proposed accommodation would provide shelter and also encourage survivors through a transformation process that could help them live the better version of themselves.
She said: “No matter your present circumstance, we want you to get the best out of life and live your truth.”
A member of board of trustee, Jite Okiemute, urged governments at all levels to commit enough funds to ensure that gender-based viiolence was properly addressed.
Okiemute lauded the Lagos State government for its contribution and efforts in tackling gender-based violence case.
“They swing into action immediately they have a hint over any case relating to domestic violence and have funded its activities by itself. We need the government to support this initiative,” she said.
She called on other state governments to emulate Lagos in the fight against gender-based violence and also strengthen the capacity of media on ethical reporting of the cases without relying only on information provided by a single source.
Okiemute appealed to women who are in abusive marriage to opt out for their safety.
“They need to survive first before thinking of their children. It’s called self-love. The Lagos State government has done so much concerning gender-based violence incidence and should be applauded.”
She cited the case of a professor who was abusing his own children after the death of their mum.
“Nobody had access to these kids except their father. He was violating them and we swung into action and rescued the children. We were able to get justice.
“There was also the case of a clergyman abusing their househelp and we were able to rescue the child and place her in the orphanage and justice was served,” Okiemute said.
The committee’s chairperson and board of trustees member, Esther Iheanacho, urged the government to find a way of securing vulnerable women in the society.
“They should institute an agency that can assist them to recover from this traumatic situation. The government has not really understood that women need support,” she said.
Iheanacho advised women to empower themselves by acquiring skills in order to earn some money against waiting for white collar job.
“The organisation has been able to handle domestic violence cases, especially with children who were molested, abused and we got justice,” she said.