The First Lady, Aisha Buhari has called for adequate funding and the harmonisation of existing laws to incorporate emerging issues in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria. The First Lady, represented by Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs, made the call at an interactive forum on GBV hosted by the Nigeria Governors Wives Association (NGWA), the UN/ Spotlight initiative and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Buhari commended state governors for declaring state of emergency against GBV in June.
She said that experiences had shown that any meaningful intervention in addressing national politics must take into account GBV.
This, according to her, had become imperative for benchmarking the developmental strives of the country.
“I want to thank Your Excellences for improving the situation of Nigerian women and children through laws, policies and mechanism that seek to promote women’s human rights, which you all remain our driven force at the state level in this struggle.
“But, as Oliver Twists, our concern is funding and harmonisation of existing laws to incorporate emerging issues as they reflect in different states,” she said.
Buhari commended the wives of the governors for the priority and attention given to fight against GBV, especially in the wake of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
She said that Nigeria communities and leaders through various initiatives now coming to term with the scale of problems with promising supports and solutions, saying these are signs of hope,” Buhari said.
The first lady expressed her commitment in working with the governors wife in the fight against GBV in the country, adding that one of the outcome of their partnership was the interactive programme.
The Wife of Ekiti State Governor and Chairperson of NGWA- GBV, Erelu Bisi Fayemi said that in recent times there had been astronomical increase in cases of gender based violence in Nigeria.
The first lady of Ekiti State said that COVID-19 and the lockdown worsen the already problematic situation as rate of violations increase exponentially.
Fayemi said that the continue drive in GBV had made it imperative to scale up multi-dimension approaches and strategies in combatting all forms of gender based violence in the country.
She listed some of the reasons for the gender based violence against women to include underlined cultural norms, altitude and believe that promote physical, sexual and economic violence.
Others include culture of impunity, lack of access to justice, nonexistence or poor facilities and economic disparity.
Fayemi said that NGWA- GBV formed by a group of 25 governors wives in June 2020 had recorded a lot of achievements, including the declaration of state of emergency for GBV in Nigeria by the governors on June 10.
She said that as a result of the declaration all state governors now focus attention on actions to address GBV in the state.
“This include to ensure that all relevant legislation is passed and the implementation of exiting laws and polices.”
She said that the wives if the governors had also developed an action plan which was launched at the occasion.
“Each first lady is adapting the contents of this action plan to suit our own contents and environment.
“The action plan covers strategies such as access to justice, support for survival, education and awareness, engaging communities, pair learning and partnership with various stakeholders. “
Fayemi said that the association had also scale up advocacy for the domestication of VAPP) Act 2015 and the Child Rights Act.
She said that since June when the state of emergency was declared against sexual and gender based violence, additional six states had domesticated VAPP Act 2015.
The States according to Fayemi include Delta, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Abia and Niger, adding that the legislation are in advanced stage in several states.
She expressed hope that more states would domesticate it before the end of the year.
Edward Kallon, is the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, commended the declaration of emergency on GBV by governors in June.
Kallon, represented by UN Women Nigeria Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, said the declaration was an indication of what women could achieve working together.
“This unprecedented declaration provides a clear demonstration of the important political feats, which women leaders can achieve when they come together to boldly advocate for women’s rights, and gender equality.
“I believe we can draw a pattern and lessons from this strategy to tackle other persistent “states of emergency” on women’s rights in Nigeria, most notably the low representation of women in elected political office, which currently stands as the lowest in Africa.
“So this indeed is a call to action.”
Kallon said that going forward, alliance building continued to serve as a core part of the strategy of the Nigeria governors wives forum to address the state of emergency on GBV.
“In this regard, it is important to foster synergies with the EU -UN spotlight initiative, which provides an important avenue for expanding this alliance building through the six pillars of interventions of the spotlight initiative.
The event was attended by the NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi and his counterparts from Plateau, Kogi and among others, as well as wives of state governors.
By Chidi Ugwu,