The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has widened its engagement with stakeholders in the bid to end the scourge of gender-based violence in the country.
The Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari while speaking at a High-Level Stakeholders Commitment Meeting on the Fight Against Sexual and Gender-based Violence, said the intention was to look very deep and broadly so as to find a way forward.
He said at the last meeting, a number of factors were identified in order to achieve a successful battle.
He said the factors include “adequate funding and training for institutions relevant to the fight, especially you stakeholders here gathered to enable you to carry out GBV more effectively.
“Need to develop a contingency plan within our laws for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and emergencies, timely prosecution and the adequate penalty for offenders, consistent advocacy and sensitisation in a collaborative manner to sustain the awareness.
“Incorporating disability sensitive, gender-sensitive public health management approach, certification of the gender desk of the Nigerian Police Force”.
He said “it is not enough to sweep it under the garb of officialdom by saying “we are doing a lot” The truth is that our efforts are not good enough and that is why we are faced with an upsurge”.
Dr Abari said the way forward is to do more sensitisation and awareness creation that will permeate the grassroots and resonate with all of society.
He, therefore, tasked the stakeholders to embark on “massive sensitisation and awareness creation, increase the number of para-legal organisations members in the communities.
He also tasked them on the “need to engage the opinion leaders especially in the North against early marriage through Advocacy.
“Need to include our social justice mechanism in solving GBV issues in Nigeria, need to empower women so that poverty will not be an excuse for violating women, need to encourage women to report cases and follow to a logical conclusion.
“Need to have a holistic collaboration by relevant institutions especially at the grassroots Need to have activists/whistleblower in communities and offices. (i.e. Sexual Harassment Act Desk Officers in MDA’s)”.
On his part, the NOA Director, Reforms, Coordination and Service Improvement Department, Mr Elisha Sabo, explained that gender violence refers to the violence inflicted on male and female sexes, which includes rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, prostitution and sex trafficking.
He said quite worrisome in the contemporary are gory scenarios relating to elderly women being gang-raped by younger boys.
“While the victims are faced with physical and emotional or psychological trauma, more often than not, the culprits do escape the wrath of laws.
“The disturbing news making the round in every facet concerning gender violence which if not addressed properly may spell disaster in the country.
“gender-based violence is not a private matter; it must be uncovered in order for it to be challenged. Ending this scourge will involve harmonised strategies and action at all levels”, he added