The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) on Tuesday in Abuja formally launched the Women-Led Integrated Protection Action Against Gender-Based Violence (WIPe-GBV) project as part of measures to address the plights of women in Adamawa, Edo and Niger states.
Speaking at the launch, the AAN Country Director, Ms. Ene Obi, urged more sensitisation of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) to protect the rights of women and girls from GBV exacerbated by conflicts across the country.
She said that AAN was implementing the project to address GBV in the three states of Edo, Adamawa and Niger states to protect the rights of women and girls from conflict situations.
She urged states yet to domesticate the law protecting women and girls to do so to reduce violence against women and girls in the society.
She said, “Over the past few months, the country has experienced a rapid increase in insecurity which has further deepen the dimensions of violence giving rise to additional burden for women and girls.
“Women and girls have continued to bear the effects and burden of violence and conflict. And COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened incidences of violence on women and girls as it introduced new dimension to violence.
“Between January and May 2020, 717 cases of rape were recorded by the Nigerian Police Force with most occurring during the COVID-19 lockdown. The pandemic brought with it a substantial rise in reported cases of GBV with a monthly increase of 149 percent in 23 states including the northeast.”
She said that the organisation would continue to work with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other agencies to sensitise the people to bring this to bear protection of women and girls.
She also said that the organisation was working with women’s rights organisations and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the three project states to provide critical protection intervention to women and girls who suffer violations.
Also, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs Catriona Laing, said that women and girls made 60 percent of the population, hence the need to include them in decision making.
Laing said that since women play key role in national development, it was essential to include them in the political space of the country especially in the 2023 General Elections.
She said that the British Government would continue to support the Nigerian Government to eradicate gender-based violence as it relates to women and the girl child.
On her part, wife of the Edo State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryam Shuaibu, said that the state had institutionalise the protection of women and girls from GBV and that it would continue to sustain the tempo to give the women a voice.
She therefore called on women to take their place saying that the right of a woman does not make them vulnerable, hence the need for their protection.