The European Union (EU), has identified poverty, conflicts, and sociocultural vices, as some of the causes fueling gender-based violence in Nigeria, and said that Nigerians speak too much and act less in addressing the menace.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, stated this yesterday in Abuja in commemoration of the 2019 International Human Rights/ Finale of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
According to him, “In a country like Nigeria, where we see conflicts, poverty, inequality and some social and cultural structures these exacerbate further the risk of gender-based violence. We talk too much and do little when it comes to human rights issues.”
He revealed that the launch of the register for sexual offenders is a milestone achievement to convey legislation into implementation, words into action, but said that, “there is a step forward that is if nourished by a judicial system they will not live in impunity of crime committed of this nature then this would make a genuine different.”
Meanwhile, Country Director, Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho, noted that the Federal Government, for the past 20 years, had paid lip service to issues of human rights despite being a signatory to so many treaties that abhor stifling human rights.
Ojigho suggested that all hands must be on deck to address the problem whether directly affected or not.
“For the last 20 years, the problem of safety and rule of law have fluctuated. If I were to look at the recent past, the challenges that face us is even more daring now than what faced us at the beginning of 1999.
“We have erosion in the value that we now hold we would have passed on to the next generation. And, this is because human rights as a value we should all uphold is under threat.
“As an organization, we have received several cases of violence by government forces who are meant to protect us. So whether it is an insurgency in the Northeast or anywhere, we all are experiencing one form of violence or the other.
“It begs the question: if Nigeria is such a strong proponent for human right protection, why are we still seeing the downward trend? The answer is that we have allowed impunity to reign. When abuses and violations occur, we have not spoken up laud enough for the perpetrators to be brought to book,” she said.
Renowned photographer and a victim of rape, Busola Dakola, while noting that the menace of rape and sexual harassment did not start today, frowned at women who blamed and shamed her for not speaking up in time when molested.
“As someone that has really experienced the whole patriarchal underpinning in our society, I never knew the problem was really this bad until I personally experienced it.
“Even within women community, I was being shamed, blame for not speaking out early. It is not just women alone. This problem is a cultural problem that did not just start yesterday or 20 years ago because we have women that are seventy years and they told me it happened to them years back.
“In order to change that kind of narrative, it is not going to be a-one-throw stone. It’s continuous and not by one person or one institution but everybody,” she said.