(Ikenna Osuoha, NAN)
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has lauded the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) for championing in the media the campaign against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
UNFPA Media Associate, Mrs Kori Habib, gave the commendation as the UN celebrates Orange Day.
The Orange Day, marked on 25th of every month, was fixed by the UN and its organs to raise awareness on GBV and other Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) so as to proffer ways of ending them.
Habib, who said that GBV cases had increased in recent times in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown, urged victims to speak out in order to break the conspiracy of silence and get help.
She said: “Recently, forms of GBV have increased from say five per cent to 45 per cent as a result of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Habib stressed the need for government and others in authority to have help lines which victims could call and seek redress.
The Managing Director of NAN, Mr Buki Ponle, urged all to resist the temptation of violating women.
Ponle, represented by the agency’s Editor-in-Chief, Mr Idonije Obakhedo, called for respect and high regards for women by all, irrespective of the circumstances.
He praised the UNFPA for partnering with NAN in the fight against GBV and called on men to honour women.
He said “through the UN Orange Day campaign, more people would be educated, reminded and encouraged, especially men, to adore and respect women.”
Mrs Hadiza Aliyu, the Coordinator NAN/UNFPA Partnership, also emphasised the imperatives of according respect to women.
She expressed concern over the rampant cases of rape in the society and called for restraint to make the environment a safe space for women and girls.
Mr Ephraim Sheyin, the Assistant Coordinator of the NAN/UNFPA partnership, canvassed for total end to violence against women.
Sheyin, who described women as the bedrock of the society, said violence against a woman was violence against the family.
He added that “during a war, men normally run away and leave women and children behind, but the woman would never abandon her child.
“The woman would always do all she could to protect her children and the family as a whole.”
The Orange Day is a reminder to commitments to rid the world of GBV and harmful traditional practices, as well as encourage all to speak out and rise against them.
The Day seeks to highlight issues of rape, Female Genital Mutilation, Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), child marriage, forced marriage, the preference to educate the boy-child over the girl-child, among others.