By Adeola Akinbobola
ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has said over 158,517 cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) against women and children formally received in 2021 is unacceptable and must be addressed.
The country- director,Ene Obi, stated this during a media conference to mark this year’s 16 days of Activism to end violence against women on Monday in Abuja.
She said Nigeria needs to make and implement laws and policies that prevent and protect women and girls in all spheres of life.
She also called for provision of budgets for the implementation of existing frameworks.
“Establish and equip more Sexual Assault Referral centers and family courts to provide quick response and justice to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Unite with other stakeholders to support the development and implementation of workplace policy with special reference to the recent ILOC190 that seeks to address gender-based violence in the workplace,” Obi said.
Ene urged traditional rulers across the country to review and abolish harmful cultural practices that contribute to women and girl- child relegation in the society.
She also berated policy makers for their nonchalant attitude towards the implementation of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act of 2015.
According to her, the way forward for Nigeria, was earnest commitment to the VAP Act, and also establishment of special courts to try all culprits of gender-based violence.
She said Nigerian women and girls were in need of special attention, as they have continued to dominate the insecure job sector, and yet very vulnerable.
She also noted that ActionAid Nigeria had initiated several interventions, resulting into projects that have rescued about 302 women from an abused home, with the collaboration of over 100 women led organisations.
She, however commended the efforts and support of the Federal and state governments in the passage of the violence against persons prohibition act and the establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) to support women and children who have survived SGBV.
She said the rise in insecurity has also made women farmers vulnerable to rape and kidnap on their farmlands. Women farmers in the villages who contributes to the large percentage of food produced in Nigeria can no longer move and work freely on their farms.