SGBV: Security personnel can declare emergency on negative cultural norms –Tallen


By oosuur Iwambe

Worried over the rise in cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen called on security operatives to declare a state of emergency on negative norms hindering the fight against SGBV in the country.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop for Christian stakeholders on skills and mechanisms for the elimination of SGBV in Nigeria, Tallen noted that community leaders and security personnel have a key role to play in proving a safe and supportive environment for children.

The workshop was organised by Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, and was supported by Ford Foundation.

The minister who was represented by Udeme Nsikak Abia, Head, GBV unit in the Ministry of Women Affairs said; ‘’Community leaders in collaboration with security personnel have a key role to play in proving a safe and supportive environment for women and girls.

‘’They are in position to declare state of emergency on negative norms and customs, harmful cultural practices and obnoxious traditions to drive the critical change needed to eliminate SGBV’’.

The minister therefore called on Christian religion leaders to use their platform in addressing to their subject the menace of SGBV.

According to her, Christian leaders are influential and skillful with their platform to speak out against SGBV to their congregation, and that this would help to eliminating the menace.

She lamented that the menace of SGBV is also embedded in some religious and cultural practices, ceremonies, rites and rituals, and that these practices view violence against SGBV from a positive perspective.

He added that in order to curtail this menace, her ministry has been involved in nationwide advocacy and sensitisation to all relevant stakeholders on the implementation of 2015 Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) Act.

“I am happy to inform you that almost all the states in Nigeria have domesticated the VAPP Act and we believe that sooner or later, perpetrators will be brought to justice.

“This training workshop is organised at a critical time in the life of Nigeria men and women who have taken bold step to advocate for the enthronement of gender equality.

“This gender equality is one of the sure ways to eliminate SGBV, I believe that Christian and community leaders and other stakeholders that would be train would be able to speak out and support this noble cause.

“I like to appreciate in a special way the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation for this laudable initiative as the outcome of this workshop would go a long way in complementing the effort of the ministry’’, she added.

Earlier, the Executive Director of the foundation, Fr. George Ehusani, in his welcome address stated that the objective of the workshop was to lay awareness on activities of SGBV on stakeholders in the Christian religious organization.

He said the objective was also to bring awareness about SGBV activities in communities across Nigeria and raise awareness for intervention and critical attitudinal and behavioral change.

According to him, this workshop is to bring up policy advocacy mechanism to respond urgently and fittingly to the alarming degree of SGBV in Nigeria society.

“Today in our country, many women, girls and an increasing number of vulnerable men and boys, are sexually violated, by the use of force in varying degrees, by psychological intimidation, blackmail, threats, physical harm and others.

“The demand for sex in exchange for employment, for grades in school, or for some other favours is become alarming.

“In some cases, persons that are incapable of giving consent on account of age or mental incapacity, and even physically challenged persons are sexually violated with devastating consequences.

“Thousands of under-age and poor vulnerable girls are regularly trafficked, lured into the booming local and international sex trade or modern slavery by unscrupulous merchants.

“The victims are sometimes put through unimaginable psychological trauma, such that they are often damaged for the rest of their lives,” he said.

He further said that the act of SGBV often prevent victims from enjoying their fundamental human rights and freedom, which have significant impact on the physical, emotional and psychological health and wellbeing of the victims.

According to him, it is widely acknowledge that religion is a major driver of human behavior, and that up to 95 per cent of Nigerians profess to that, and 50 per cent of these are said to be Christians.

He said that not less than 80 per cent of this Christian population attends regular religious service, and that there was need to eliminate SGBV in our society if the Christian religion play its role.

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Ada Ada

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