The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged strategic stakeholders to strive more to safeguard women and girls from Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and other harmful practices.
The fund made the call in a statement issued by Mrs Kori Habib, the Media and Communication Specialist of UNFPA Nigeria, on Monday, February 25, 2019 in Abuja.
She stated that the appeal became necessary following growing cases of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) reported recently in the public domain.
The statement reiterated UNFPA’s Zero Tolerance for GBV and Harmful Practices, adding: “UNFPA commends government at all levels, civil society organisations and other development partners on their efforts which enabled the enactment of 2015 Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) Act, its passing into law across some states.”
The agency also used the opportunity to assure the federal and state governments of its continued advocacy and support for the enactment and domestication of the required laws, noting its readiness to support capacity building of front-line response providers such as law enforcement agents and the judiciary to help end the scourge.
UNFPA also stated that it would engage key stakeholders in awareness campaigns and for sustainable data management, adding that notable cases of VAWG that caught public attention included the 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbaje, who was allegedly raped to death by a father and son in Benue in 2018.
Another notable case it cited was that of a popular blogger, Ms Linda Ikeji, who was allegedly drugged and raped in Lagos recently, as well as the reported story of Gift Alonge, who suffered countless incidences of sexual assault and defilement in the hands of her biological father.
UNFPA equally mentioned the case of a young woman who was brutalised by a group of young men in Benin City through the insertion of pepper in her private part, stressing that “all these cases of violence and the countless number of unreported cases, are symptoms of a larger malaise, which require urgent national attention.
“UNFPA appeals to all states in Nigeria to domesticate and enforce the VAPP Act.
“UNFPA also calls on relevant actors to take advantage of the VAPP Act to address the scourge of violence against women and girls in Nigeria.”
By Mustapha Yauri