Violence Against Women, Girls: Former NBC Director Urges Government to Partner EU-UN Spotlight Initiative

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kano

A former Director General, Nigeria Broadcast Commission (NBC), Dr. Danladi Bako, has urged the Federal Government to partner the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) on their Spotlight Initiative aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls in the country.

According to the former Commissioner of Communication, Sokoto State, who spoke on the topic “the power of the Media: Finding the Needle in a hay sack”, tackling violence against women and girls has become a serious issue in the country that requires urgent attention.

Dr. Bako, made the call in Kano during a two day media dialogue on “Spotlight Initiative” an EU- UN global partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and all harmful practices in support of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

The focus of the Spotlight Initiative include legislation and policy framework, building institutions, prevention efforts, particularly addressing root causes of gender-based violence and harmful practices, and ensuring access to inclusive, timely, and affordable, quality services as well as data management across five focus states of Lagos, Adamawa, Sokoto, Cross-River and Ebony plus the FCT.

He said, government should partner EU-UN, on the Spotlight Initiative which for him has giving the roadmap that would lead to putting an end to the issues of gender based violence in the country.

“They should follow must of the recommendations by EU-UN,this is not the first workshop, there are series of workshops that has been done, they should gather all the position papers on all of this things and hand them over to Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and do the partnership.

“And all the aspects of interrogations we are talking about and recommendations include; political will, the role of the individual, the family, how do we train our people. Part of the government is to ensure that we teach our children right from school gender based violence.” Dr. Bako added.

Dr. Ibe Ifeakandu, Head of Department, Public Law, Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies, said issues around the dignity of women and girls centres on gender inequality, which has become an issue of major concern to the international community.

According to her, gender inequality connotes that men and women are not equal and that it is occasioned by a number of factors, including religious and socio- cultural norms as well as legal.

“It has engendered a number of negative attitudes towards women and girls globally. Forms of abuses suffered by women and girls includes sexual abuse, kidnappings, human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

“They are usually disproportionally affected by effects of climate change and disasters, as well as conflicts.
They also suffer domestic violence and and are usually denied the right to take charge of their sexual and reproductive health.”

Dr. Ibe added that socio-cultural norms- preference for boys, “ownership” of women by men are other factors that are engendering inequality and that men actually prefer to marry children and girls, who are not accepted as equal partners.

“Feminization of poverty is also a norm that perpetuate gender inequality.
Religious beliefs and practices
Legal

“Statistics from a 2019 World Health Organization report shows that: Women earn only 77 cent of every dollar that men earn. 35% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their life time. From the perspective of agriculture, women hold only 13% of land.

“750 million women and girls alive today were married before 18. Only 24% of national parliamentarians were women as of November 2018, a small increase from 13.5 in 1995. She said.

The law teacher further said in Nigeria, “44% of girls are married before they are 18; and 18% before 15. Nigeria has the highest number of child brides- about 3.5 million and the 11th highest prevalent rate of child marriage globally.
Child marriage is more prevalent in the northeast with 68% and 57% aged between 20-49 marrying before their 18th birthday.

“Child marriage is commonest among Nigeria’s poorest. 73% women with no formal education marry before they are 18 (2017 WHO Report).

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