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Gender-based violence is preventable ― Aisha Buhari

First Lady, Aisha Buhari on Monday expressed optimism that Gender Based Violence is preventable just as she expressed delight over the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in 34 States of the Federation.

Mrs. Buhari stated this in Abuja, during the 3rd Annual Conference 2022 with the theme: ‘Awareness, Accountability and Action: Sustaining the state of emergency against sexual and gender-based violence’, organized by Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum (NIGWF).

While applauding the ongoing efforts aimed at tackling the menace, she urged the Nigeria Governors Wives Forum to sustain the momentum against gender-based violence.

The First lady who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration and Women Affairs, Mrs. Rukayyatu Gurin, observed that the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence which takes place annually during the global 16 Days of Activism, was aimed at galvanizing action to end gender-based violence around the world.

“The journey towards equality and the empowerment of women remains a significant one. Nigeria has already made great strides – most notably in the passage of legislations such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act which has now been domesticated in 34 States.

“Ending violence against women requires that key institutions work together, provide services, and ensure that the different bodies in society are held accountable, especially those that are responsible for law enforcement,” she noted.

While acknowledging the NIGWF’s tirelessly collaboration with partners and other stakeholders to see that gender-based violence is reduced to the barest minimum, she harped on the need for all stakeholders to “commit by making certain that every woman and girl counts, to ensuring that every girl in Nigeria can grow up in a world feeling secure and protected.”

In his remarks, Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto who pledged the State Governors’ continued support towards ending GBV, reassured that the two States will domesticate VAPP Act before the end of 2022.

Governor Tambuwal who was represented by NGF Director-General, Asishana Okauru who commended the Governors Wives for setting up a structure that would outlive every First Lady, assured that NGF’s “commitment to ensure that tackling sexual and gender-based violence in our respective States would be a priority.

“We committed to ensuring that the Violence Against Persons Law (VAPP) and Child Rights Act would be effectively passed and implemented in our respective States.

“As of November, of this year, 34 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have domesticated the (VAPP) Act and 32 States have domesticated the Child Rights Act.

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“It is no doubt that despite the commendable progress we have made as a country, there is still more that needs to be done to achieve our goal of eliminating Gender Based Violence against Women and Girls.

“This conference represents a further step in an ongoing process: putting the rights of women and girls at the heart of the Nigerian Government and taking on the existing and emerging challenges that we see in this field.

“We must UNITE in the campaign to end this scourge. The NGF would continue to collaborate with NGWF to drive their initiatives at the subnational,” the NGF Chairman assured.

On her part, NGWF Chairperson and First Lady of Sokoto State, Mariya Aminu Tambuwal, explained that the objectives of the conference include: Bring stakeholders together for a high-level advocacy forum on SGBV to commemorate the Global 16 days of Activism campaign against Gender-Based Violence.

“To launch our projects such as the SGBV Accountability Tracker, SGBV Standard Operating Procedures, SGBV Service Providers Directory & State First Ladies Handbook.

“To showcase the contributions of NIGWF members towards mitigating SGBV. To show solidarity with women and the organizations that support them. And to use the media to attract attention to GBV issues, Gender Empowerment and NIGWF’s role.”

While stressing that awareness-raising is crucial to spreading the clear message of zero tolerance of all forms of violence against women and girls, she assured GBV victims of their rights and the support services available to them.

She maintained that: “The First Ladies’ approach to eliminate SGBV is holistic, it is also systematic, complementary, and comprehensive, and we aim to achieve this through a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional approach.”

• Minister applauds Governor el-Rufai’s stiffer punishment for rapists

In her remarks, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen who applauded Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State efforts to stem sex-related abuses by signing the amendment to the State’s Penal Code Law in September 2021, noted that the legislation provides stiffer punishment for rapists convicted by removing their testicles and fallopian tubes of men and women respectively, and the launch of sex offenders’ register.

According to her, the amended Penal Code further provides that men convicted of raping children under age of 14 will have their testicles surgically removed, while women will have their fallopian tubes cut out.

The objective of the law according to the state government, “is to deter likely offenders and not to incapacitate anyone. No one enjoys the surgical procedures in the edict for convicted persons. But this is a crime against humanity that we must end.

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