By Oswald Agwu, Ebonyi
The wife of Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs Mary-Maudline Uzoamaka Nwifuru has led over 100 institutions non-governmental and civil society Organizations in a mega rally against Gender-based violence in Ebonyi State.
The rally held Monday, was part of activities marking this year’s 16 days of activism.
Addressing Ebonyi public during the rally, the Governor’s wife emphasized that achieving desired results in the fight against GBV involves addressing first, the root causes and established norms which have continued to perpetuate the practice.
She noted that investing in preventive strategies and sustainable solutions would provide a lasting panacea for the social problem.
She assured that she would do everything within her powers, leveraging on her pet project,, Better Health for Rural Women, Children and Internally Displaced Foundation (BERWO) to nip the menace of domestic violence, child trafficking and abuse; rape and other violence against persons in the State.
She called for collaboration among all institutions, sectors and organizations to achieve zero tolerance to GBV in Nigeria in general and Ebonyi State in particular.
Nwifuru said: “The 16 Days of Activism campaign provides a critical platform for raising awareness about this issue, advocating for policy change, and mobilizing resources to support survivors and prevent future violence.
“In Ebonyi state, we always lead by example, that is why as your First Lady and Mother of the state, I am here today and fully involved in all activities to mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism.
“My foundation, Better Health for Rural Women, Children and Internally Displaced Foundation, (BERWO) is fully involved in reducing GBV and providing justice for victims.
Elaborating on the years theme: “Unite, Invest To Prevent Violence Against Women And Girls”, the Governor’s wife observed that it underscores the urgent need for investment in preventive measures to combat the deeply rooted issue of violence against women and girls.
She stressed that investing in prevention also means addressing the underlying factors that cause violence against women and girls, including challenging harmful gender norms, promoting healthy relationships and consent education; strengthening laws and policies that protect women’s rights, providing accessible support services for survivors, and engaging men and boys as allies in the fight against gender-based violence.
Nwifuru added: “Prevention efforts must be comprehensive, encompassing education, advocacy, legal reforms, economic empowerment, and social change.
“By investing in these areas, we can create environments that are conducive to gender equality, respect for human rights, and non-violence.
“It calls for collective action to address the root causes of this violence and to invest in sustainable solutions that will create a safer and more equitable world for all.”
The Ebonyi first lady called on all women, girls and others suffering from GBV to speak up as such is the only sure way of finding justice, adding that the present Administration in the state has declared zero tolerance to GBV.
Speaking to newsmen, the vice president, International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Ebonyi State, Barr. Serah Chukwu, advocated for increased women and girls’ rights education and economic empowerment as a way of ending GBV.
She acknowledged that although most men also suffer some forms of GBV from women, they hardly speak up thereby making it difficult to have data.
Chukwu however, observed that the incidence are more on women because of certain socio-cultural issues which has given them the posture of the weaker vessel.
She called on both the men and women to join hands in fighting GBV for the future of the children.
Also speaking, the spokesperson of Ebonyi State GBV taskforce, Goodness Mgbaja, strengthened the resolve of the taskforce to continue to sensitize and advocate for a GBV free state.
Mgbaja, who is the state programme officer, Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Nigeria, explained that the 16 days of activism was a global event, and commended the Governor’s wife for her commitment to the cause of ending violent practices in the State.
INN reports that the rally took the Governor’s wife and the team through major streets and roads in the State capital with the message of ending GBV practice in all its manifestations.
The team also visited the State Judiciary headquarters, the House of Assembly, the traditional rulers Council headquarters and the Alex Ekwuene Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where Mrs Nwifuru interacted with the people and performed some other official functions.