KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Permanent Secretary, Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Umma Ahmed has said Gender Based Violence, (GBV), is one of the least prosecuted crimes, and one of the greatest threats to lasting peace and development in the world.
She stated this at the opening of a five-day capacity building of stakeholders on GBV Response, Prevention, and Mitigation organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, (UNPF) in Kaduna.
According to her, the incidence of GBV is growing astronomical in the country with the activities of the insurgency in the North East; adding that from forced and early marriages to the physical, mental or sexual assault on the woman, nearly 3 in 10 Nigerian women have experienced physical violence by age 15.
Hajiya Ahmed said that more needed to be done in response to the cries for justice by women and children who have suffered violence; noting that the issue of GBV is at the heart of human rights.
“It is in fact in many ways a determining factor as to whether we can ever have a just society. We have to do much more to end these horrible abuses and the impunity that allows these human rights violations to continue,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary expressed dismay at the level of tolerance for all aspects of gender inequality, including violence against women, which has sustain a narrative that almost accepts that you can oppress half of society and life goes on, as if nothing has happened.
“Our ability to change that narrative, along with many other people who are not with us and who might even disagree with us, is something that we have to find a way of addressing significantly.
“We are now for the first time in a world with such a high proportion of young people. 50 per cent of the world’s population is under 30: there are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and a quarter of them call Africa their home.
“The capacity of girls to change the world for the best would be missed if we are unable to address the issue of violence against women and girls, because they are facing all of the risks that are associated with violence against women.
“And because so much of this violence happens at home, for many of them there is nowhere to escape, nowhere to run to. A place where you call home, your refuge, is actually where you are most vulnerable. And if you are a young girl, and a child, where else do you go, if home is not safe?
“These are really hard times. We need the strength to take on the challenges as they re-emerge. The statistics [on increased prevalence] that we have just heard are quite frightening, because the prevalence was already very high,” she said.
Also speaking, the Kaduna State Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA), Zainab Atuba, who said gender based violence, is an epidemic since it’s a daily occurrence in the society, called on parents to keep watch over their children in order to curtailed incidences of violence in the society.
She challenged participants at the training to step down whatever they will learn at their communities to sensitized people on the importance of good parenting.
“Parents must wake up to their responsibility of taking good care of their families. Mothers in particular should not trust anyone whether male or female around their children as sometimes it could be relatives that will be deviling a child,” she cautioned.