By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
Nigeria’s foremost human rights agency, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has joined the global community to commemorate the International Day on Elimination of Violence against women and girls.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Mr. Tony Ojukwu said women and girls had continued to experience various forms of violence despite legal instruments in place to promote and protect their rights.
Ojukwu stated this at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
The event which was organised by the NHRC to kick-start the 16-days of activism on violence against women and girls, commenced on 25th November to 10th December 2020.
The Executive Secretary noted that the menace of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence cuts across class, geography and culture, adding that it is associated with negative impacts that impede progress in many areas of lives including Nigeria’s obligation to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals.
The human rights boss who lamented that violence had subjected women to poverty, hunger, health-related issues, education, gender equality, peace, and security said despite the already high incidences of violations against women and girls, there was an alarming increase of violations that were recorded following the lockdown which was occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic.
He revealed that between March and June 2020 the Commission received and treated 232 cases of various forms of violence against women and girls from the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
The human rights boss disclosed that to show commitment to ending the menace, the Commission in collaboration with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) launched a mobile app called UNSUB, a platform that connects survivors of SGBV to service providers. He added that the platform provides information on access to support system for survivors of SGBV, he further urged everyone to leverage on the use of technology in providing support for survivors.
He called on relevant stakeholders to effectively play their roles in preventing and eliminating violence against women noting that the theme of the 16 days of Activism; Orange the world: fund, respond, prevent collect is a wake-up campaign for all.
As part of activities to kick-start the event, there was an awareness walk involving the Executive Secretary, staff of the commission and stakeholders to draw attention to the significance of the 16-day of activism.
The human rights Boss further unveiled activities lined up for the period of activism saying the Commission’s state offices across the federation including the Abuja Metropolitan Office have will be fully engaged in some activities including visits to the state legislatures, judiciary, and executives with the aim of ensuring the passage of laws to outlaw harmful practices against women and girls.
Stakeholders at the event included representatives from Ministries Departments and Agencies MDAs and civil society organisations who pledged their support to fight the war against SGBV.