By Funmi Falobi
In order to reduce the rate of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lagos state, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Humanity Family Foundation on Peace and Development (HUFFPED) has carried out a sensitisation programme for residents and uniform service men in Ikorodu Local Government Area of the state.
The programme organised by HUFFPED in collaboration with Women’s Rights and Health Project (WHRAP) was supported by ActionAid Nigeria and funded by Global Affairs Canada through the Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria Project.
According to the Executive Director, HUFFPED, Kemi Adeyeye , the programme becomes imperative with the increase in report of gender based violence in the society. She noted that there was no intervention looking at Gender Based Violence which affects both male and female but only violence against women.
“In Nigeria, the most common is male against female. Our culture does not allow women to voice out when they face violence,” she said
While declaring that there is need to look at GBV holistically, she stated that beyond the perpetrators, there is also the issue of the drivers of GBV which include social, cultural, physical and psychosocial issues
She said, “In marriage, people use religion, not thinking of emotional impact on women. In the case of inheritance, the male take possession while the woman can’t own a land. We have a lot of unwritten laws which people use to perpetrate gender based violence.”
Similarly, Adenigba Henry, Team Lead, Surveillance Group, Spotlight Initiative, United Nations International Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Ikorodu, affirmed that elimination of violence against women and girl child is a thematic area in United Nations, UN, intervention.
According to him, people are coming out to report cases of GBV and so, the rate is reducing because they know there will be penalty and sanction.
“Before, we expose the survivors and issues of discrimination and stigma became rampant but now, we are exposing the perpetrators and give adequate punishment.
“We want people to know that when they see something, they should say something and do something. They should speak up when they know the perpetrator. People can speak under the condition of anonymity. You can report to the surveillance group, Child Rights Law Implementation Committee, gender desk at police stations. Even within the community, there is a surveillance group,” he said .
The programme was an enlightening one for the participants and they agreed to work together towards fighting the scourge of GBV in the society.
A participant, Mrs. Saka Rashidat, Treasurer, Community Development Council, CDC, Ikorodu Local Government Area explained that though there was no much report on GBV in the area but there have been cases of elderly person’s defiling young girls.
“GBV has never happened in my community. NGOs should do seminars to orientate people especially men that it is not good. Parents should also be orientated on how to take care of their children especially the girl child,” she said.
Another participant, Mr. Abayomi Bamidele, First Chairman, CDC, Ikorodu Central stated that GBV is becoming alarming and that advocacy and general awareness will make a lot of impact in stemming down the trend.
“The government also has role to play. Policing should get closer to the people. We need to have a database of people in the country which will be easier for security personnel to track perpetrators. Our teeming youths should be gainfully employed to reduce GBV. As a community leader, we meet regularly with the exco which include the youth leader. We will discuss this at the meeting and encourage people to do away with crime, especially GBV,” he said.