By Vera Wisdom-Bassey
November 25 of every year is celebrated by the United Nations as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
On this year’s occasion, the Advocates for Global Peace Forum International commemorated the day by recognising Nigerians who have impacted lives, particularly vulnerable people, in different ways.
This year’s theme, “Orange the World”, re-echoed the need for everyone to play a part in making the world a brighter place for all to live in, with the focus of eliminating gender violence.
According to reports, 37 women died in Lagos in 2021 as a result of violence against them. This was viewed by stakeholders as a disturbing development that needed to be tamed.
The day was not just all about speech-making, it would also be remembered for the fun that followed, as testified by the participants.
The forum said that some selected Nigerians were being celebrated for contributing immensely to humanitarian service in the country.
Among those bestowed with the awards were Chief Mmerigwo Henry Iyke, the CEO of Merimerid International Limited, and Chief Ifeanyi Harry Jeferry, CEO of Ocean Growth Villa PTY, a real estate company, among others.
Harry said that he was filled with joy, adding that he never knew that some people were watching him as he went about assisting the poor and other less-privileged in the society. As gathered, his empowerment programmes to many families include training young people in various vocations and skills acquisition, among others.
He said that he did not just focus only on the widows and physically-challenged people in his communities, but also extended his hands of benevolence to schools around his community by giving some indigent children scholarships.
On his part, Iyke, having been recognised for providing pipe borne in Uji community in Anambra State, construction of road and his impact on the health care delivery, dedicated his award to the people of his community.
The United Secretary-General, António Guterres, who spoke on the importance of the day, said he was committed to ending all forms of violence against women and girls.
He described it as the world’s most horrific, persistent and widespread human rights violation, which affects many women across the world.
He pointed out that sexual violence against women and girls has been in existence for centuries. He opined that gender inequality, especially male dominance fuel rape culture.
Guterres called on governments at all levels as well as private sector and civil society to take a firm stand against sexual violence.
Speaking at the event, the president of the forum, who was represented by his media relation officer, Mr. Ikemefunna Amah, described the body, founded in 2012 as a non-governmental organisation that promotes peace, empowers people, provides relief intervention and sensitises the public on basic issues that affect humanity.
He also called on the government to beef up security during this period of festivity in the country for the safety of Nigerians who would be travelling from one part to another.
The head of Business Department, Bells University, Ota-Ogun State, Mrs Nkiruka Ifekwem, spoke on the violence against women. She lamented that gender violence against women comes as a result of emotional silence in their homes. She stressed that emotional silence could kill a woman if not tackled on time.
She explained that equality should be seen as women bringing out those beautiful qualities God deposited in them to compliment men’s efforts. She encouraged women not to hide their talents despite the intimidation that stare them in the face.
She it was laughable how a girl-child of 13 years could be married out in some parts of Nigeria, while a girl of 15 cannot get admission because she is tagged underage.