A group of Muslim and Christian leaders under the auspices of the Side Movement for Gender Justice in Nigeria have called for decisive actions to stem sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.
They made the call at the weekend in Abuja at a conference jointly addressed by Rev John Joseph Hayab and Prof Mustapha Ismail, the co-chairmen of the movement as part of activities marking the 2022 global 16 days of activism to eliminate GBV.
In a statement, they said, “The Side by Side Movement is of the view that everyone must be free from cultural and interpersonal system of privileges and oppression, and from violence and repression based on gender so that gender identity is seen as a gift rather than danger, a source of life and hope rather than fear and oppression.
“At local, national and international levels, the movement partners together wherever possible to work towards gender justice, where everyone is valued equally and able to share equitably in the distribution of power, knowledge and resources.
“Side by Side acknowledges that religious teachings have often been misinterpreted or misrepresented in other to justify social and cultural norms that perpetuate gender injustice and recognize that people of faith and our religious leaders have a responsibility to revisit sacred texts and promote faith values of love, dignity, and gender justice.”
They further said the Side by Side approach was to stand firmly on fighting for gender equality and transforming discriminatory and unequal power relationships, and that this approach could be used to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.
They also said that the 2022 campaign’s theme: “UNITE! Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls”, was an invitation on everyone to play their roles in ending violence against women and girls, show support and solidarity to women’s rights activists and to resist the rollback on women’s rights.